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Parking lot key element of Village Square project

By Staff | Feb 17, 2010

The fate of the proposed Village Square project in the Community Redevelopment Agency district will shift into the hands of the Cape Coral City Council, which will have to decide if a conveyance for the parking lot needed to build the mixed use project will be given to Island Development and developer Robbie Lee.
Transferring the lot is the crucial final step, members of Island Development said Tuesday, as the site plan is finished and the permitting phase is almost complete.
Lee has worked on the project since 2006 when the initial Request for Proposal was sent out.
He said Village Square could very well provide the spark that downtown Cape Coral desperately needs.
“This project could change our downtown … in the snap of a finger,” Lee said.
The city would donate the parking lot in exchange for Lee’s guarantee to build the project, which includes parking garage, retail, condominiums and a police substation.
Should Lee back out or the project, the lot would then revert back to the city.
The CRA unanimously supported the conveyance, and the project overall.
The CRA board will receive a full presentation of the project March 9, during a special meeting.
CRA Chairman Don Heisler questioned why the city would purchase a performance bond for the project, which would give the city the opportunity to complete the project should Island Development’s finances falter.
While he “blessed” the project, Heisler equated the performance bond to buying insurance on his neighbor’s car just in case that car crashed into Heisler’s house.
“I question why the city would buy the bond on this … I don’t think its in the city’s best interest in these troubled times,” Heisler said.
City Council will discuss the conveyance during its workshop Monday, then move to a vote on March 1.
According the Island Development, construction on the project would be in phases. A total of 152 residential units would be built on top of the parking garages, while 2,000 square feet is set aside for the police substation.
Lee said his company already has Fifth Third Bank committed to anchoring a corner unit in the development, which will sit at the corner of Southeast 8th Court and Cape Coral Parkway.