June 25, 2008

Clearing the Land I-75/S.R. 70 Project

By Stacey Eidson, The Bradenton Herald, Fla.

Jun. 25--EAST MANATEE -- Trees are down and the land has been cleared on the southeast corner of Interstate 75 and State Road 70 in preparation of the River Club Park of Commerce Project.

The Manatee County Commission last year approved a preliminary site plan for the proposed 303,209-square-foot shopping center next to the interstate, according to Barney Salmon, a planner for the Manatee County Planning Department.

The shopping center is part of the larger 245-acre River Club Park of Commerce project that is planned to be built in phases.

Salmon said the developer for the project is Casto Lifestyle Properties of Sarasota, the same company that opened Main Street at Lakewood Ranch in 2006 featuring upscale retail shops, restaurants, a six-screen movie theater and luxury condominiums.

George Brusco of Casto Lifestyle Properties' leasing division did not return phone calls seeking comment on the project.

When the plans for the River Club Park of Commerce were first presented to commissioners in 2006, the project included the development of a 120-room, four-story hotel, a pair of parking garages, townhouses and apartments.

In February 2007, the commission approved extending the build-out date to 2015 for the project, which is proposed to be stretched south to Linger Lodge Road and east to Braden Woods.

Part of the development of River Club Park of Commerce was made possible following a land swap between Casvak River Club LLC of Sarasota and Gamble Creek LC of Bradenton. County commissioners agreed to allow the development of six acres of wetlands owned by Casvak for the River Club Park of Commerce project in exchange for the preservation of 173 acres of waterfront property along the Manatee River south of Parrish.

In 2006, Casvak agreed to purchase the waterfront property from Gamble Creek and donate the land to the county fo a new preserve abundant with wildlife.

Stacey Eidson, Herald reporter, can be reached at 708-7908.


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