Dunedin leaders okay Gateway extension, stormwater hike
DUNEDIN| City commissioners unanimously approved an eight-month extension for developers of the downtown Gateway project, plus gave city staff the okay to include a stormwater rate increase of 42 cents a month in the proposed 2015 budget.
City Manager Rob DiSpirito said extending Pizzuti Builders Inc.’s contract until April 15 would help the company secure financing for the $15 million mixed housing-retail project, and find a local partner who could better manage it and ease banks’ lending fears by sharing the cost burden.
Over the last six months, he said, banks have declined to loan Pizzuti the full amount needed to embark on the three-story, 124-unit apartment development atop 24,500 square feet of shops and restaurants. That’s because the project, planned for the intersection of Main Street and Milwaukee Avenue, is considered new and there’s no market data to which it can be compared.
The project has been stalled for seven years while Pizzuti struggled to find commercial and medical office tenants, then quadrupled the residential component to meet market conditions. The company said it is open to converting some of the rental units to condos to move things forward.
In other news, homeowners’ monthly stormwater fees are expected to jump from $9.30 a month to $9.72 come Oct. 1. Commissioners will decide next month whether to approve the change, partly intended to help fund a project that will alleviate flooding and improve stormwater quality in the Lakewood Estates subdivision, as part of the overall budget.
Watch video of both discussions and the concerns raised during each here.