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Back to the Future: ‘Project Hoosier’ gets CRA support

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Apr 8, 2021

Artist’s rendering of Project Hoosier. PROVIDED

For more than 10 years, the Community Redevelopment Agency maintained an agreement with a developer on what was to be a full-block project dubbed “Village Square.”

However, after numerous delays and unforeseen circumstances, those plans did not came to fruition.

But another project is now planned for that South Cape site.

The CRA this week entered into a letter of intent with Flaherty & Collins Development to develop the property at 845-851 Cape Coral Parkway at the heart of the city CRA district.

Cape Coral City Councilmember and CRA liaison Gloria Tate said that property had been discussed during her terms on council previously.

“They are well-funded, have a thought-out plan and I’m very excited about it. It’s a great start,” Tate said. “It’s been in the works for over a decade and it’s great that it’s finally going to happen. It’ll be great to see a sign go up there that says ‘coming soon.'”

Over the past few months, city staff has been in discussions with the company, which has the property under contract and is scheduled to close on the purchase sometime this spring.

The developer plans to use the entire 3.9-acre block and construct a mixed-use building for Project Hoosier. Plans call for approximately 280 luxury apartments, about 18,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space; and a 525-stall parking structure with the first two levels reserved for public use.

It has not been determined whether the garage will allow for free parking or will charge a fee.

The parking garage component will be funded through a $10 million loan from the city to the CRA, which will then pay the money back through site-specific TIF tax revenues, specifically generated by the development.

Plans are expected to be submitted in the fall, with groundbreaking expected for Spring 2022. The initial leasing of units are expected to begin in Spring 2023, with the project’s completion that fall.

“We’re so excited because something is finally going to happen. We can move it along after waiting 10 years,” said CRA chairperson Linda Biondi. “It’s finally coming to fruition.”

“This is a really exciting project,” said Brian Prince, vice president of Development for Flaherty & Collins Properties and lead project developer, in a prepared statement issued announced the agreement. “A core downtown mixed-use multifamily project in downtown Cape Coral will be transformative for the City, where residents can live, work and play all in the same area. Plus, Southwest Florida is a market we’re bullish on and have been working to get into for a number of years.”

Cape Coral Economic Development Manager Ricardo Noguera said the project would help transform south Cape. The City and F&C will now begin finalizing a development agreement.

“We’re basically creating a downtown and going vertical,” said Noguera. “We already have a full-service supermarket there, we have drugstores there, we have restaurants, so the missing piece are the residents.”

The Village Square project was originally approved by City Council in 2010 with the provision that significant construction begin within two years. That did not happen, as the project was delayed seven times due to the Great Recession, Hurricane Irma and, finally the pandemic.

When Village Square, LLC failed to reach specific benchmarks set for that project, the proposal was deemed null and void.