RIO, Fla. — Officials in Martin County on Tuesday unanimously approved a mixed-use development along a waterfront area of Rio that has been in the works for several years.
Known as the Rio Marine Village project, it will include 192 residential units, three restaurants housed in two buildings, marine and retail buildings along with refurbished boat basins.
A master plan for the eastern portion of the project was first approved in 2018.
The revised plan approved Tuesday includes an additional 6 acres of upland area and shoreline that extends to the west.
The additional area adds another boat basin and an area of natural shoreline that will remain as beach access to the river.
A boardwalk and pedestrian walkways will connect the entire waterfront area to Northeast Dixie Highway.
The project will be located on the south side of Northeast Dixie Highway about a half-mile east of Northeast Savannah Road.
The development will be built on the site where the remnants of an old hotel and other businesses used to face the water decades ago.
When JoLynne Jensen and her husband retired, they bought a home in the Rio community.
She has enjoyed the area but said there was nowhere to truly enjoy the St. Lucie River.
However, this project hopes to change that for area residents.
The developer said his vision for this project evolved over time from a gated community to a traditional community with public access to the waterfront.
"Even if the project produces less cash at the end of the day, it doesn't matter," said developer Charles Modica. "It's going to be the heart of Rio."
Modica, who was also behind the Love Street project at Jupiter's Inlet Village, bought the nearly 10-acre site in Rio three years ago.
"I'm proud that Rio will become accessible for all residents in that community," Modica said.
That includes Jensen, who said the proposal is sized right for her neighborhood.
"It’s not just piling houses on top of houses," Jensen said.
Work on the new development should begin before the end of the year.