By Keona Gardner, News Source @TCPalm
FORT PIERCE — The move has been a decade in the making, but it appears the city will act on redevelopment of the H.D. King power plant property.
The Fort Pierce Redevelopment Agency is to meet 5:30 p.m. May 21 to vote on which one of the two developers will receive the contract to redevelop the 8-acre prime waterfront property into a mixed-use commercial/residential project.
Developers Keith Kite, of Vero Beach, and Redevelopment Management Associates, of Pompano Beach, both want to build a hotel, restaurant, shops and parking on the site, between Second Street and Indian River Drive, which is one of the last publicly owned, undeveloped properties in downtown. RMA also would build townhouses.
Both developers said they would purchase the land from the city for $2.5 million.
The Redevelopment Agency is to vote on whether the staff should negotiate an agreement with one of the developers or restart the search process.
The agency, which comprises members of the City Commission, convenes to vote on development issues related to downtown.
It is unlikely city officials would restart the process because, in the past, all five members of the City Commission have said they want the project to start this year.
The downtown needs this project to happen to bring life to the area, said Doris Tillman, executive director of MainStreet Fort Pierce.
“I think having more residential creates a continual flow of traffic into downtown instead of just during business hours,” Tillman said. “A hotel will help promote tourism.”
The power plant was razed in 2008 to make way for newer developments. Left in the soil was toxic chemicals such as arsenic, lead and polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, once used as a coolant in transformers but now known as a carcinogen.
The Fort Pierce Utilities Authority spent more than $4 million to remove more than 34,000 tons of contaminated soil.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection in January gave the site a clean bill of health.
This is not the first time the city has attempted to build on the site.
In 2014, St. Petersburg-based Mosaic Development wanted to build 300 apartments in five-story blocks, 55 three-story townhouses, a hotel-conference center and a 636-space parking garage. Mosaic withdrew its intent to build after residents rejected the plan, saying it was out of character for the city.
In 2008, Snyder Construction proposed a 350-room hotel as part of its $150 million “Atocha Village” concept. The plans called for a Bass Pro retail store, 150,000 square feet of conference facilities and would have used Moore’s Creek for gondola rides such as in downtown San Antonio, Texas.