(ran EAST, SOUTH editions)
Citing the deteriorating economy and struggling movie theater industry, Carillon Town Center developers, Echelon Commercial LLC, received approval from the Environmental Development Commission Wednesday for a downsized hotel-retail complex.
The modified site plan doubles the amount of office space, altering the prior nightlife focus to a daytime, business focus.
The newly approved project eliminates a multiplex theater, reduces retail space by about half and cuts the number of hotel rooms to 120. The number of apartments remains unchanged. Office space was sharply increased to more than 1-million square feet.
"Admittedly, it is not as exciting; but it does provide jobs and investment in the community," said city planner John Hixenbaugh.
Construction of the hotel and retail space is expected to begin by spring, according to Echelon spokesmen.
Each month the EDC meets to consider proposed development projects that require variances, site plan approval or requests for alley or right-of-way easements.
Among other items considered Wednesday were:
RAYMOND JAMES OFFICE BUILDING: Raymond James & Associates Inc. received EDC approval for a nine-story office building and an associated five-story garage adjacent to its existing financial center in the Carillon Industrial Park. The 298,000 square-foot office tower will accommodate up to 1,200 new employees. The building will be a mirror image of Tower 3 to the immediate southwest.
LAKEWOOD LOTS: Despite the unanimous opposition of the Lakewood Civic Association, the EDC unanimously approved a lot line adjustment for one of the last chunks of vacant land in Lakewood Estates, creating five buildable lots. David Zachem, representing the association, argued the 60- and 70-foot-wide lots were not appropriate for the neighborhood, which he said had mostly large lots. The commission disagreed and said that lots in the immediate vicinity of Cordova Way and Caesar Way S were similar in size.