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City urged to make decision on Village Square request

By Staff | Feb 22, 2010

City Council will decide next week on the conveyance of a parking lot in downtown Cape Coral that could be used to build the so-called “Village Square” project, a mixed use facility developer Robbie Lee says could invigorate the CRA and the city.
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.
According to 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 would be set aside for a 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.
Lee urged council Monday night to finalize the conveyance at its voting meeting next Monday.
Lee has worked on the project since 2006, being the only developer to answer a request for proposal. He said he’s already put over $8 million of his own money into the development.
“I stuck with this project when I watched every developer leave,” Lee said. “I believe we (Cape Coral) have so much to offer … we need a downtown.”
The city could pursue a performance bond to protect itself should the development falter in any way.
Councilmember Marty McClain said he supports the project and the conveyance.
“The conveyance still needs a little work … but a performance bond is quite common,” McClain said.

KC’s River Stop
The owners of KC’s River Stop could be running out of time to negotiate terms of a new deal with the city.
Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pohlman said KC’s owners, Carmine and Betty Serrago, have not responded to the latest offer, which includes a $3,000 a month lease.
For the most part, City Council supported setting a drop-dead date for the negotiation process, saying that if terms could not be met, it would put out an RFP for the location. The drop-dead date was not officially set, but the date of March 15 was mentioned.
McClain said it feels as if the negotiation process had reverted back to square one.
“It sounds like we were further away than we were a month ago,” McClain said.