VERO BEACH — The long-discussed Three Corners project will move forward with commercial development, voters decided Tuesday.
The 38-acre site of the city’s former power plant, at Indian River Drive and 17th Street, has for years been considered for development. The City Council approved a master plan in February.
The city charter required voters approve of any plan with commercial uses. The current plan calls for the city to lease the land to a developer, who would bring in a hotel, restaurants, a marina and recreational space.
The referendum passed with 79% of the voteTuesday, according to unofficial results from the Supervisor of Elections Office.
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Now that a majority of voters approved, the project can move forward.
Now, the city will conduct span trspanffic-impspanct study to prepare for development. It will also need to change the site’s land use.
That process likely will take nine months to a year, said city Planning and Development Director Jason Jeffries. But the city wouldn’t necessarily have to wait until land use has been changed to receive proposals from developers.
Three developers — E1 Equity First, North Carolina; E2L Real Estate Solutions of Winter Park; and Donald J. Urgo & Associates of Maryland — already expressed interest in Three Corners this summer, responding to the city’s initial request for information.
What could be built there?
The city master plan outlines a number of potential commercial and recreational spaces at Three Corners.
Big Blue — the former electric plant — could be converted into a hotel. Land beside the electric plant could become a public park, including a skate park, marina, shops and restaurants.
Space south of the Alma Lee Loy Bridge could remain open as a field for community events, with a visual performing-arts center, marine-research facility and youth sailing center beside it. There could also be a promenade and fishing pier.
Proponents prspanised the project as a free, open public space for all ages to enjoy. But the project hasn’t made it this far without some criticism.
City Councilman Bob McCabe, who cast the sole vote against master plan, raised concerns about the hotel: how it could impact traffic and how construction could impact the environment, because the site is directly on the Indian River Lagoon.
The proposed 99-year lease also concerned him, he said. McCabe preferred a lease closer to 25 years so future City Councils could have “some degree of control over the property,” he said.