Massive makeover proposed for Madeira Beach's Town Center

The Madeira Beach planning commission will meet Monday to review a planned development in the city's downtown core that would include at least three hotels, two condos and new retail space. Photo courtesy William Karns Enterprises
The Madeira Beach planning commission will meet Monday to review a planned development in the city's downtown core that would include at least three hotels, two condos and new retail space. Photo courtesy William Karns Enterprises
Published March 9 2016
Updated March 9 2016

MADEIRA BEACH — An $80- to $100-million redevelopment project that would include multiple hotels, condominiums, a marina and new retail space could be coming to the business heart of the city.

The nearly 7-acre Town Center project follows closely on the heels of a controversial hotel-condominium-retail redevelopment of the former Leverock's site on the south side of the Madeira Causeway, just west of the bridge.

The Leverock's project, approved by the Planning Commission but yet to receive City Commission approval, is raising strong opposition from nearby residents who argued that the buildings are too high and the entire project will create unacceptable traffic congestion.

Similar objections are certain to meet this latest project, proposed by Bill Karns, a Treasure Island-based developer whose foundation raised over a half-million dollars for the city's new ROC Park recreation and entertainment center.

The developer is asking for fewer hotel and condominium units, as well as lower floor-area ratios than are currently allowed under city codes. The height requested meets code, provided the planned development is approved.

"Height is an issue, but I believe the major concern is the potential traffic that may be caused by any new development," City Manager Shane Crawford said Tuesday. "But, really, almost anything is better than what we have now. Our downtown was built in the 1950s and is really showing its age."

The plan will be formally reviewed by the city's Planning Commission at 7 p.m. Monday.

The Town Center project property encompasses all of the downtown business triangle surrounded by Madeira Way, Gulf Boulevard and 150th Avenue, as well as existing retail space on the north side of 150th Avenue extending from about midway along Madeira Way to the city park just west of the Tom Stuart Causeway Bridge.

Karns, as manager of Madeira Beach Development Co., assembled the 21-parcel property package through purchase agreements with multiple property owners that are contingent on the city approving changing the zoning to a planned development and approving the planned development proposal.

All of these approvals are expected to take at least a month and involve multiple public hearings. Additional approvals will be needed from the Florida Department of Transportation, as well as relevant environmental and safety agencies.

Crawford said Karns' proposed development was designed to meet recent height and traffic concerns of residents.

Karns' application states that his proposal will "create a unique sense of place for the Town Center and create a sense of arrival for those entering the area."

He says the project will "set a standard of urban design;" increase temporary lodging units while preserving existing residential units; improve both pedestrian and bicycling access to the center and nearby parks, beach, retail and city buildings; and "develop parking and access strategies" for the entire area.

Here is what is proposed:

• Two 11-story hotels and two eight-story condominium buildings.

• An expanded 43-slip marina with a new seawall and docks, a dockmaster building with a small cafe or snack stand and a 39-space parking lot.

• 50,000 square feet of retail and/or restaurant space.

• A half-acre public plaza at the intersection of Gulf Boulevard and 150th Avenue and a landscaped green space leading to the marina.

• A 12-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle trail connecting Madeira Way to the Causeway Park.

• Transforming Madeira Way for two-lane, two-way pedestrian oriented shopping with parallel parking and wide sidewalks.

• An elevated crosswalk allowing pedestrians to safely cross Gulf Boulevard.

Each condominium would have 45 units averaging 1,900 square feet, a lobby area, two floors of parking with space for up to 95 vehicles, a swimming pool and slips for about 20 boats.

An 11-story, 50,514-square-foot hotel is to be located on the north side of Madeira Way and adjacent to the marina. It would be 115 feet tall, have 180 suites and 5,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and three floors of parking. The fourth floor would include amenities, a roof terrace and some hotel rooms.

The second, 120-foot tall, 11-story, 92,511-square-foot hotel, would be located within the business triangle and would include 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor. A full-service hotel above would include up to 250 rooms.

A mid-block pedestrian arcade would extend through the building. A parking garage would be located on the second, third and fourth floors. The fifth floor would include hotel amenities, such as a fitness center, meeting rooms, a business center, and a roof terrace with a swimming pool, spa and bar.