Marco Town Center has begun the renovations of its retail space that abuts Collier Boulevard and houses the small Publix, amongst other popular eateries and retail space. At the December 6th Planning Board meeting, the owners of the plaza—Brixmor Corporation—made a presentation to go over the details of some of their minor aesthetic changes to plaza.
In the original proposal to the city, the project was estimated to take approximately 9 to 12 months to complete and entails a $5 to $5.5-million investment in that property.
The property itself has been the center of several debates regarding parking and outdoor seating issues. Just a few years ago, the popular Joey D’s Italian Restaurant, now located on Bald Eagle Drive, had attempted to locate within the Town Center complex in the old Vandy’s location, but concerns regarding parking, drainage and other issues had caused them to locate in an alternate location on the island due to the debate regarding parking.
Many local shoppers were shocked to see egress into the property during the popular Thanksgiving holiday week was curtailed for a time.
According to representatives of Brixmor, they will be “phasing” the work to create a minimally invasive project for both businesses and residents.
Some of the design modifications were done to accommodate city codes, accommodate requests from existing and new tenants, create a more relaxed and tropical atmosphere for the plaza, and create more gathering places for shoppers to enjoy the enhanced tropical atmosphere they are seeking to establish.
Better landscaping, ornamental railings and softer color tones are also part of the plan for the plaza. In addition, they will be upscaling the signage and improving the parking in the rear of the plaza in addition to lighting upgrades.
The use of pervious and permeable pavers which will allow for better drainage throughout the complex, in addition to more “softscape” to assist in drainage will also be incorporated into the overall design.
Over the last several years a number of councilors have been critical of Brixmor for their lack of attention to this particular property, which they claimed was being ignored, while other properties they manage within the area were being revitalized.
The unsealing of an Indictment in the Manhattan Federal Court, naming Michael Carroll and Michael Pappagatto, the former Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Brixmor Property Group with fraud in August of this year may have slowed some progress with ongoing projects.
Two other high-ranking members of Brixmor have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Steven Splain pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and to make false filings with the SEC, and one count of securities fraud. Michael Mortimer pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and to make false filings with the SEC, and one count of securities fraud.
The amendment to the Site Development Plan will now go before the council for approval.