SEMINOLE — The city is one step closer to seeing a hotel, restaurants and homes on land that once housed the Bay Pines Mobile Home Park.
The City Council has unanimously approved a zoning change on the almost 60 acres at 10005 Bay Pines Blvd. from residential to mixed use. The council last week also approved a conceptual plan for the property that shows space for housing on the north and west, retail on the south and a fire station with mixed uses on the east.
The city's agreement with the developer, Kitson & Partners, mandates a hotel with at least 60 rooms. Seminole officials have long wanted a hotel in the city.
Because of the shaky economy and other issues, it's unclear when Kitson, which is based in Palm Beach Gardens, will have a detailed site design for the property or begin other development. A Kitson representative is scheduled to speak at a Seminole Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday about the Bay Pines project.
The Bay Pines property was once home to 550 tree-shaded mobile homes owned by seniors, many of whom were drawn to the site because the Bay Pines VA Medical Center is across the street. The seniors owned their homes, but not the land beneath them.
Local developer John Loder bought the land in May 2006 for $38.5 million. Loder said he and his Bay Pines LP planned to build 800 upscale townhomes, and they evicted the homeowners.
A group of those homeowners sued Seminole attorneys Dennis DeLoach and Peter Hofstra, who were trustees for the trust that had owned the park and sold it to Loder. The court dismissed the case in late May, saying DeLoach and Hofstra had not done anything wrong or caused the homeowners damages by selling the property.
Loder went under and the upscale townhomes were never built.
Kitson bought the land last year for $7.65 million.
Kitson, founded in 1992, is a large-scale developer responsible for such communities as the 18,000-acre Babcock Ranch in Charlotte and Lee counties that is to be the site of a city powered entirely by the world's largest solar photovoltaic array.
The company's website touts the location and the plan in Seminole.
"The redevelopment of this prize property will be the newest example of the 'smart growth' projects that are the hallmark of Kitson & Partners," it says.
The goal, it says, is "to create a dynamic mixed-use development with hotel and retail space, apartments, townhomes, and assisted living facilities that together create a more livable, sustainable lifestyle for residents."
Reach Anne Lindberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8450.