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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Dec. 24, 2004 14 years ago

Coffee Talk (Sara/Mana edition)

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This week's items: An '05 Christmas present?Setting the record straight

Coffee Talk (Sara/Mana edition)

An '05 Christmas present?

High on Bradenton mayor Wayne Postonis wish list for his city is a downtown grocery store. It only seems natural that the grocery store would be best located where most of the new residential development has been built at the 26-acre Riverwalk parcel.

Edward Vogler II, a partner with the Bradenton law firm of Vogler Ashton PLLC and one of Bradenton Riverfront Partners LLC that owns a 99-year lease from the city on the property, agrees.

iIim working on that daily,i Vogler says. iI would say the odds are really good for it. I canit give you a name because there is a little competition going between two different groups that want to go in there. It just shows that once you get the residential component grocery stores want to come in there.i

Poston says one of the interested grocery stores is Publix Super Markets Inc., which is considering a resort-size store similar to its Anna Maria store on the downtown site.

Riverwalk is the site of about 250 apartments at Mainstreet at Bradenton, which has been called a tipping point for the area by at least one elected city official. Developers have already sold out the first building in the planned $135-million 350-unt condominium, Promenade at Riverwalk.

Setting the record straight

Wayne Morehead had a hunch that the daily newspaper article published Dec. 21 (iCityPointe project on holdi) was going to be bad, but he didnit know just how bad. Though the headline says the project is on hold, a careful reading of the text shows that really, Tim Litchet suggested that if there is a major problem, the project SHOULD be put on hold.

So is there a major problem?

When Morehead first met with Coffee Talk a couple of months ago, he pointed to the acre lot (bottom left on map) owned by Elizabeth Meyer and said that he didnit own it or have a contract on it yet and he didnit know whether he would ever own it, so the building shown on that site, Building 8, was only tentative.

Meyer had signed an affidavit that she was in support of and part of the plan, and that her property could be rezoned along with and as part of Moreheadis project, so Building 8 was drawn in. But Morehead knew that he may not be able to secure her property, so he planned for the project both with it and without it. Because of the location of the Meyer acre on the propertyis end corner (at 10th and Florida), the project easily stands without it.

Deletion of the Meyer property simply deletes Building 8 with its 48 condominiums and accompanying parking (which was planned as the last phase of the project), but the rest of the project remains unaffected.

After Moreheadis project and the rezoning on the entire site (including Meyeris acre) received approval last week, Meyer made it known that sheid decided to keep her property and develop it herself, and that she would not be part of CityPointe, after all. Of course, Meyer benefits from the rezoning work Morehead did (and paid for).

The number of condos in the total CityPointe project drops from 374 to 326, but Morehead is still able to offer 20% of those units in the iaffordablei range of $175,000 to $250,000 o because heid already planned the project with the contingency of not having the Meyer property. The retail and office space doesnit change, and there are no density changes. So when Morehead told the daily paper that Meyeris withdrawal would have a iminimal effecti on his plans, he meant it O In fact, he was prepared for it.

Of course Moreheadis team will be talking with the city officials, demonstrating to them that, based on the location of Meyeris property and their planning to do the project with or without her property, the project can go forward as planned. As far as Moreheadis concerned, nothing is on hold.

Look for the sales office to open in January, and if you want one of these units, get there early. The first phase will put less than 150 units up for sale, and already Morehead tells Coffee Talk he has collected a list of more than 200 names (but no one has paid a deposit). Morehead might be able to beat the 90-minute sales close-out record set by Chris Brown on his 1350 Main Street project just a few months ago. Morehead has hired Keller Williams to market both the residential and commercial aspects of the project.

Through all the drama, though, comes this story, a testament to what this project means for the workforce. The city commission hearing of Monday, Dec. 13 o when the commissioners approved the project o was aired on local access television. A local firefighter watching the hearing on television became so excited about buying a unit that he got in his car and drove to City Hall during the meeting to find Morehead and put his name on the list.

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