Big development coming to downtown Fort Pierce

Posted at 7:04 PM, Apr 11, 2018

Patti Criss loves the charm of downtown Fort Pierce, with its number of locally owned shops. But the Vero Beach resident says it’s lacking in one area.

“A hotel would be great because there are a lot of fishing tournaments. It’s needed in the area," said Criss.

Criss will get her wish. Wednesday, two development groups presented their visions for the old King Power Plant site along North Second Street. Both include a hotel.

“Activate the downtown both during the day and night and really blend in with the city’s character," said developer Keith Kite, who is proposing a hotel with retail shops.      

Two proposals were presented to a city Evaluation Committee Wednesday. The one major difference is one has a residential component, including townhomes, rental units, and smaller apartments for student housing.

“We want to make it more alive. You need to get people to live downtown or it won’t be alive," said developer Chris Brown with RMA.

Brown says he sees the same promise in Fort Pierce that he saw in Delray Beach three decades ago.

“We’re craftsmen and you have to handcraft buildings in downtown," added Brown.

The power plant was torn down in 2008. A multi-year clean up of contamination on the site finished in 2016. The 8-acre plot is one of the few major parcels left for development in the downtown area. Both developers looking to put their stamp on the city’s future.

“We love Fort Pierce. It’s a great location, great site.  We hope to be here with them," said Kite.

Residents are excited about the prospect of what’s to come, but aren’t sure how big they want it to be.

“Something that fits into the community rather than drastically trying to change the community all at once," said downtown resident Ellen Mancini.

The Evaluation Committee will make its recommendation to the Fort Pierce Redevelopment Agency which will choose a winner in May.