Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Market developer loses building rights

ISLAMORADA -- The would-be developers of the long-planned Winn-Dixie on Upper Matecumbe Key have lost the building rights for the proposed market.

"They didn't get the permit on time," Village Manager Ed Koconis said last Friday.

The Village Council awarded Net5FDA 15,561 square feet of additional building rights on June 27, which coupled with vested rights on the developer's mile marker 81, oceanside, property, gave it the chance to move forward with the planned 29,000-square-foot grocery store. The company had until Feb. 6 to make use of the allocation.

That didn't happen, however, because Net5 wasn't able to obtain a cross-access agreement from owners of the neighboring Galleria property as required under its 2011 site plan approval, Koconis said.

Also under the development approval, Net5 was required to either install a vegetative buffer in front of the neighboring home of former Mayor Bob Johnson or purchase the home outright. The company, though, had long had a contract with Johnson to move ahead with a purchase.

Koconis said he wasn't sure of the outcome, but as of the Feb. 6 deadline, the deal had not been closed.

Chris Sante, whose Estate Services Limited is a lender on the Galleria property, said the Johnson property didn't close, which was a major factor in why the cross-access agreement also was not completed by the deadline.

Johnson could not immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

The 15,561 square feet that had been allocated to the Winn-Dixie project now goes back into the village pool and can be redistributed during the next allocation period, which closes at the end of April, Koconis said.

Net5 could reapply for that square footage. So could the developers of a proposed Publix market, at mile marker 82.5, bayside.

rsilk@keysnews.com

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