Developers pitch apartments

Are Englewood housing needs not being met?

ENGLEWOOD — Architect John Holz and CEO Joe Gallina of Gallina Companies conducted a rare pitch in front of the Englewood Community Redevelopment Area Advisory Board on Thursday — a new apartment complex in South Sarasota County.

Holz and Gallina spoke in more detail about the development plans for Lemon Bay Apartment Homes surrounding the two plots north of Christ Lutheran Church on North Indiana Avenue.

Among the issues discussed were security, landscaping, leasing and target demographics.

Gallina bought the land in 2004.

Holz said the apartments are aimed at fulfilling a need for commuting young professionals and older residents.

When asked about the specific demographics, Gallina responded, “The apartment is not really for families, but we don’t want to discriminate. We don’t want to limit our marketing.”

Holz said they plan to build a playground for children who may live there, and those who may visit residents. “Englewood needs apartments,” said Mary Ellen Diez, a CRA board member. Gallina originally looked to develop the property in 2007.

“We had our first neighborhood meeting and we had a totally different project,” Gallina said. “With the real estate and financial collapse, we just stopped. Now, we felt the market has improved enough for us to go forward with our development.”

Gallina admits apartments could have survived the crisis.

“Our next step, we’ll submit our application for rezoning in the next three-to-four weeks,” he said. “We’ll get into the municipal process. If we’re successful with the process, we hope to start no later than January 2014. We’ll start sooner if we can.”

Bike events wanted

Toward the end of the meeting, cyclist Art Bacon addressed a concern to the board about the lack of promotion of bicycle-related activity in South Sarasota County, compared to areas like Venice.

CRA member John Radkins noted a complaint one business person relayed to him about how he opted against opening a business along Green and Dearborn streets citing lack of consistent business activity amidst construction projects like the Low Impact Design storm water project.

“The area needs to be marketed to developers better,” Radkins said. “Otherwise we’re not making good use of the money we’re spending on these projects.”

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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