SEMINOLE — For months, two questions have consumed business owners and city officials here: What's happening with Seminole Mall and where are detailed plans for what will be built at the former Bay Pines Mobile Home Park?
The fate of the mall is still uncertain, but last week Seminole officials received a more detailed site plan for the 60 acres at 10005 Bay Pines Blvd.
The developer, Kitson & Partners of West Palm Beach, also submitted a site plan for a 330-unit upscale apartment complex that will be built along the western and northwestern side of the acreage. It will be called the Courtney at Bay Pines.
The overall site plan shows a fire station at the northeastern corner of the land. Wrapped around it will be an assisted living facility. Just south of those, on the eastern boundary, will be a hotel. The rest of the property is space for retail and restaurants.
The plans also show five ponds taking up about 10 to 12 acres. The site now has three ponds on 4 acres.
But the big change is to the frontage road and access to 100th Way N, which abuts the site on the east. The frontage road now empties into 100th almost at its intersection with Bay Pines Boulevard. Area residents have complained for years about the traffic congestion.
The new configuration, which must be approved by the Florida Department of Transportation, moves the frontage road north to relieve some of the traffic issues. The plan also shows entrances to the site farther north on the 100th Way side and along the frontage road itself.
"They're cleaning the whole intersection up at 100th Way," said Seminole's director of development, Mark Ely.
The site plan for the apartment complex shows eight buildings for the residential units and multiple garages for renters. Included are a clubhouse, pool and playground.
The apartment buildings will be two, three and four stories. In them will be 18 studio units, 134 one-bedroom apartments, 152 two-bedroom units and 26 three-bedroom apartments. The Spanish style architecture will match that of the Bay Pines VA Medical Center across the street.
"It's kind of cool, actually," Ely said.
It's unclear if the plans will have to be approved by the Seminole City Council. The council will only see them if Kitson needs a variance from city rules. That's generally the case with such developments, Ely said.
It's also unclear when construction might start on the apartments. The plans are being reviewed by the county, the state DOT and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Once the plans pass those inspections, Kitson must install the infrastructure — sewers, drainage and the like — for the entire site. Only then can construction begin on the apartments.
But it appears that the city will finally see something built on a piece of land that's critical to its development.
"The only thing that would potentially be bigger than this would be (changes to) the mall," Ely said.
Once a mecca for seniors who lived in 550 tree-shaded mobile homes, the Bay Pines acreage has had a tortured history in recent years. Developer John Loder bought the land in May 2006 for $38.5 million. Loder's Bay Pines LP evicted the residents to make way for 800 upscale townhomes. But Loder went under, and the land has remained vacant.
Kitson bought the land last year for $7.65 million.
Reach Anne Lindberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8450.