Fort Pierce not giving up hotel plans for downtown

Monday Jul 31st, 2017


FORT PIERCE — City officials hope by October to select a developer to redevelop the former H.D King site in downtown into a hotel.

The Fort Pierce Redevelopment Agency on Monday approved City Manager Nick Mimms' autumn timetable to solicit requests from developers to build a hotel.

An informational meeting for prospective bidders is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 16 and all bids are due by Sept. 5, according to a draft copy of the request for proposals/qualifications.

The city plans to advertise the project in state, national and international development publications and websites to find the best possible proposal, Mimms said.

The city would retain ownership of the site and lease the land to a developer.

“We want someone who would follow the community’s hopes, wishes and dreams,” Mimms said.

During a community workshop last year, the public's redevelopment preference was for a hotel there with retail on the ground floor.

A hotel would attract people to downtown who otherwise would stay in hotels near Interstate 95 or in Vero Beach and Port St. Lucie, according to a draft copy of the request for proposal/qualifications.

The second popular choice is for the city to contract out to build condos, townhomes or luxury apartments and have a small grocery store on the ground floor, according to city records.

The property is zoned light industrial but they support changing the zoning to whatever is needed to get hotel, according to city records.

This would be the city’s third attempt to develop the property.

A South Florida developer in 2010 scrapped a $90 million plan to build Atocha Village — shops, restaurants, homes and a hotel — after discovering the property would revert to the state if it is sold.

In 2014, a St. Petersburg group dropped its plan to build a hotel, 300 apartments, 55 townhouses and a four-story parking garage after opponents said it was out of character for downtown.

Fort Pierce Utilities Authority and the city have spent more than $4.2 million to remove more than 34,000 tons of contaminated soil.

The power plant was razed in 2008 to make way for newer developments. But the soil contained toxic chemicals, such as arsenic, lead and petroleum, as well as polychlorinated biphenyl, once used in transformers but now known as a carcinogen.

FPUA paid $2.4 million of the cleanup cost, the city used $600,000 in grants and the Fort Pierce Redevelopment Agency borrowed $1.7 million from the federal government to help fund the project.

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