Illustration courtesy of STEFANO DE LUCA & ASSOCIATES
This is an artist’s rendition of the proposed CVS Pharmacy at Madeira Way and Gulf Boulevard in Madeira Beach.
MADEIRA BEACH – The hub entrance to Madeira Beach’s main retail shopping corridor will be getting a transformation.
A development agreement for the corner of Madeira Way and Gulf Boulevard was approved at the Dec. 10 City Commission meeting. The plan would replace an aging strip center and vacant gas station on the property with a 15,000-square-foot CVS Pharmacy and 2,500 square feet of yet to be identified commercial space.
A site plan and renderings of the CVS building were presented at the meeting. Jose Martinez, Land Development Division Director for the Foresite Group in Tampa, said the plans incorporate “an urban-pedestrian theme” by pushing the building back to allow more landscaping and creating a pedestrian corridor with access to the Winn-Dixie center and the Madeira Way shopping area.
Martinez predicted the development would have “a very positive impact for the city.”
Architect Stefano De Luca said the CVS building design would feature “enhanced building elements” such as sea shell motifs that complement the site’s location across from the beach at Archibald Park. Landscaping of the property will feature palm trees partially hiding the building exterior. Store window graphics pick up the nautical theme with fishing village photos.
Commissioner Pat Shontz was pleased the design “doesn’t look like the other CVS” (that will be replaced), which she said “is not a class act.” She said the new site is a very important corner.
“What you do with that corner has a lot of impact on the future of the area,” Shontz said, reminding the developers, “We expect a lot.”
Shontz complimented the development plans.
“You’ve done a fine job and are setting a good example,” she said, but warned, “Just make sure you do it.”
Though the commission unanimously approved the development agreement, City Manager Shane Crawford said the planning commission had been divided, giving its recommendation in a 4-2 vote. He said the members considered the site a prime piece of real estate, and “some believed there might be a better use for the property.” City staff had recommended approval, Crawford added.
The next step in the development of the property will be to start the permitting process. Actual construction is about a year away, an October-November time frame according to Crawford.
Rental inspection law gets an OK
The commission passed an ordinance requiring biannual inspections of rental properties, which applies to single-family homes and apartment buildings containing 1-4 units. The purpose is to ensure the rental properties are compliant with city codes.
Commissioner Elaine Poe has said she believes the number of substandard and rundown residential properties in the city could be drastically reduced if those rental residences were inspected regularly.
But some residents said the law is an unwanted intrusion on private property.
“This allows the government to go into private homes for no reason except for an inspection,” Dick Lewis complained. Lewis called the ordinance “intrusive, expensive and absolutely unnecessary.”
Former City Manager Jim Madden said enforcement is the key.
“How many code violations have been brought before the special magistrate?” Madden asked. “Now you want to inspect every residence. Where will it end?”
Victor Cucaro, who said he comes from a country where human rights are restricted, said the inspections “intrude on our lives.” He added, “There are many people who don’t like it.” Cucaro later said he intends to run for mayor next year.
Mayor Travis Palladeno said not many code violation cases have come before the special magistrate because settlements are negotiated out of court.
“We have been very proactive in working with the (police) deputies and property owners so charges do not pile up,” he said.
As a result, Palladeno said crime rates in the city are going down, and “you can see the difference in the properties in Madeira Beach.”