Developers propose parking garage and 29,000 sq. ft. of retail and residential for Ocean Drive

The first floor of the proposed three-story, mixed use retail and residential development would include 9,000 square feet of retail space fronting Ocean Drive, and access to a three-story, 170-space parking garage.
The first floor of the proposed three-story, mixed use retail and residential development would include 9,000 square feet of retail space fronting Ocean Drive, and access to a three-story, 170-space parking garage.

MARK SCHUMANN

The second and third floors of the proposed project for South Ocean Drive would include 20,000 square feet of retail and additional parking.
The second and third floors of the proposed project for South Ocean Drive would include 20,000 square feet of residential space and additional parking.

According to City Manager Jim O’Connor, a group of local developers, whom he declined to name, have presented a tentative proposal for building a three-story, 170-space parking garage, 9,000 square feet of retail and 20,000 square feet of residential space along South Ocean Drive.

If likely objections from neighborhood groups to another three-story parking garage on South Ocean Drive do not derail the proposal for development of what is now the Humiston Park overflow parking lot, the project will face at least one other hurdle related to title on the propoerty.  It appears the land still belongs to the County.

Currently, the Oceanside Business Association sponsors a popular Saturday morning open-air farmer's market on South Ocean Drive.
Currently, the Oceanside Business Association sponsors a popular Saturday morning open-air farmer’s market on South Ocean Drive.

According to one source, in exchange for opening the garage to public use, the developers might ask the City to give them the land, or to sell it at a discounted price.  Questions have arisen, though, about who actually owns the property. In 1944, the Indian River County Commission gave the City permission to use the land for a park.  The Commission’s resolution was never followed with an actual deed transferring title to the City. Before the City can even consider selling or giving the land in exchange for parking rights, it will first have to get clear title to the property.

According to city staff, the initial concept calls for the developers to buy land adjacent to the municipal parking lot that currently accommodates overflow parking for Humiston Park.  The city’s parking lot, also home to a popular Saturday morning open-air farmers market, accommodates up to 50 cars.  The proposed parking garage would have space for more than three times as many cars.

According to City Attorney Wayne Coment, the title issue on the property could be cleared with a quit claim deed from the County.  In an email to County Attorney Dylan Reingold, however, Coment wrote, “I spoke with Jim O’Connor (City Manager) on this and unless the City has Joe’s (County Administrator Joe Baird) and your support for the transfer at no cost to the city then we don’t envision moving forward with any proposal to clear any cloud on the title to the parking lot used for Humiston Park.”

7 comments

  1. This is why the developers worked so hard to derail the Vision Plan, and and why many people worked to prevent using Humiston park land for private use. Now even more public property is at risk so private parties can make money.

  2. Are these people just complete morons or what? No one parks in the parking lot just to the north of that parking lot now because they are too lazy to walk from Azalea to Dahlia…just another idiocy in an area full of entrepreneurs looking to suck up city land.

  3. Why don’t be just turn over the keys to Indian River County to the developers and let them destroy the paradiase that so many people worked to perserve for years?

  4. Interesting. Our recent elections put out the city council member most vocal about surplus land, outsourcing, etc. Recent P&Z and city council voted for the Ocean Drive-Cardinal Drive overlay plan. How will the current city council approach this issue? Where will the Farmers Market go? Has Ocean Park sold out? I noticed the Citrus Grill customers use up a large portion of Humiston parking-free city owned land. Is the Swanson parking garage full – (he once approached city council with a lease agreement that was never discussed)? When does the Gayfeather project come on line? I thought this was what the Vision Plan tried to avoid.

  5. This has not come up before any commissions, board or city council. I am sure that the council would not go along with such a plan. Who have these developers presented this plan to?
    Its interesting though, look at the picture of the farmer’s market. The items shown are bagged and looks like you can buy them at any grocery in town.

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