Friday, June 15, 2007

NBC News Clip - June 14, 2007

Ideas differ on property's future


CAPE CORAL: Developers have a new idea on what to build off Palm Tree Boulevard, but homeowners want something completely different. Residents want to keep as much green space as possible but the developers would like to see more condo and retail shops.

Since last July, the 175-acre former golf club property located off Palm Tree Boulevard in Cape Coral has been closed because of mounting debt.

The owners of the property are now planning how they will redevelop the land and are asking for the public's feedback. At an open house on Thursday – they got it.

Cape residents defend Golf Club Course owners want to change land use

By Pete Skiba
Originally posted on June 15, 2007

More than 100 people piled through the doors of La Venezia's ballroom on Club Square on Thursday to voice their opinions about the residential and commercial development of Cape Coral's The Golf Club.

"We are here to make a statement that we all stand together against the land use change," said Mary Neilson, president of the non-profit Save Our Recreation group.

Florida Gulf Ventures LLC, owner of the course, wants the city to change the allowable land uses from single-family homes and parks and recreation to include retail shops, offices, townhomes and condominiums.

The investors want to develop because the course continued losing money after they took over in 2006. The company closed the course last July because of mounting debt.

The company showcased a preliminary conceptual plan at the public meeting that could get it back in the black.

The plan includes a residential village, a retail store area and a mixed use area all surrounded by parks and trails on the 175-acre site.

"This meeting is an opportunity to gather information from the community and explore what they think about what could be in their community," said Kent Carlson, of Ryan Companies US Inc., working for Florida Gulf Ventures.

"There are two things that are needed for a successful development, community support and the market for it. You need both not just one."

Despite the recent housing market slowdown, about 160,000 people live in the Cape and commercial buildings remain under construction — offering retail, office and other business space to serve the growing population.

Many attending the meeting said they preferred the golf course.

“The city is growing so fast one golf course is not enough,” said Cape Coral resident Brian Whitehouse, 65. “The first two things anyone asks when coming to cape Coral, Where do I keep my boat and where is the golf course?”

The Golf Club meeting reveils retail, home plans

By Pete Skiba News Press

Originally posted on June 14, 2007

Those attending a meeting today on the future of Cape Coral's The Golf Club saw poster boards of residential and retail development, parks and trails, but no golf holes.

The open house started at 4:30 p.m. at the La Venezia ballroom on Club Square. About 20 people were there earlier, but a much bigger crowd was expected, especially when the Save Our Recreation group arrived.
The non-profit group planned to enter the ballroom at 6:30 p.m. wearing green shirts that proclaim “One generation plants the trees, another gets the shade.” The group boasts 250 dues paying members.

The group is adamantly opposed to the owners turning the Golf Club into residential and business development.

The boards on view present a development with 35 to 40 percent residential villages, 20 to 25 percent retail services such as stores and restaurants, 10 to 15 percent mixed use (stores and offices on the first floor with condominiums above) and 35 to 45 percent parks and trails on the 175-acre defunct golf course site.

There were no plans to retain the golf course on the site because the market isn’t there. No buyers have approached to buy as a golf course