PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Plans are now in the works to develop a downtown-like area near the Mid Florida Event Center in Port St. Lucie.
Last week, twenty-one acres of land were purchased by the city after it was held by the Securities and Exchange Commission for roughly seven years.
City leaders say Lily Zhong defrauded investors after purchasing the land during the market crash in the early 2000's.
"She took over and decided that she wanted to do an investment program and unfortunately her program was deemed fraudulent," said Jennifer Davis, Project Manager, City of Port St. Lucie.
Davis said the master planning process for the twenty-two parcels of land could begin as soon as April and that citizen input will be welcomed.
"I would say at this point, everything is on the table and what you'll find in the master planning process is we'll start to kind of trend towards certain areas and certain development activities that compliments the local community, the site itself," said Davis.
Davis said the area could be similar to what's located on the western side of the city near Tradition and Southern Grove.
"We know that a lot of people do leave the city, one for employment, but two just to have something to do and we want to bring that back to them," said Davis. "We want them to not have to go down to Stuart to have a nice experience in the evening time strolling the streets and having dinner or again even further down into Palm Beach County."
The parcels of land surround the event center to US-1 and Walton Rd.
Davis said the area falls into what's called community redevelopment meaning taxes will not necessarily go up for residents and that the land will produce revenue for the city.
She said the city will likely reserve some of the land for public use so that the city can continue to host public events such as parades and festivals.