Renovation plan revealed

March 1st, 2022



PORT CHARLOTTE — The Promenades Mall owner submitted a redevelopment plan with 1,100 apartments, office and retail space all mixed together adjacent to the Charlotte County’s hospital hub.

Currently, the 26-acre long-standing mall fronts on U.S. 41. The other side is near Fawcett Memorial Hospital and ShorePoint Health Port Charlotte.

“That’s a huge employment center,” Charlotte County Economic Development Director Dave Gammon said.

Using the county’s 2020 mixed-use zoning bylaw, the developer and current owner, Jeff Morr of Miami, would work to rebuild what is now mostly a strip mall. Building height could go as high as 150 feet, depending on what the developer offers, Gammon said.

Morr cites extensive experience developing large residential and commercial centers in Miami.

The county’s Economic Development Office has been working with Morr for months to design what could be called Parkside Village, Gammon said The proposal will go before Charlotte County commissioners for approval, Zoning Official Shaun Cullinan said. The application, submitted Feb. 24, is still considered incomplete. Once deemed complete, the county must schedule presentations within 180 days before the Planning and Zoning Advisory Board; then commissioners for a final decision.

Parkside is the name of the adjacent community created by General Development Corp. in the 1950s and 1960s with small residential lots and a narrow strip of commercial space along U.S. 41. marketed to retirees.

It has become the county’s more problematic neighborhood with lower property values, despite sturdy housing. Local officials have been working to overcome the problem of the fragmented lots created by General Development. Rebuilding Promenades is part of the vision of recreating Parkside to include more innovative housing and retail settings that would be attractive to workers in the region, medical workers in particular.

Parkside Village would have housing as well as office space above retail and restaurants. It would include parking and possibly a hotel.

The new zoning bylaw allows a developer in a project the size of Promenades to build as high as 150 feet. The regulation allows more feet for more contributions, such as affordable housing or consolidation of lots.

“It makes sense along the Tamiami corridor,” Gammon said of having taller buildings along U.S. 41 in a county that has otherwise set building heights to a maximum of 60 feet.

The project should not add a lot of traffic to the county roads, Gammon said, because many of the residents will likely work at the hospitals and medical offices in walking distance. What would likely overwhelm the county with traffic, he said, is if the 100,000 or so vacant General Development lots throughout the county start filling in at a rapid pace.