12390420460?profile=RESIZE_710xA view from Greynolds Circle of the apartments at the Kmart site. Rendering provided

By Mary Thurwachter

Lantana officials got an early peek at a Miami developer’s plans for the redevelopment of the former Kmart site during a workshop Feb. 13, and they liked what they saw.

Victor Ballestas, a principal with Integra Investments, the Miami firm that bought the property at 1301 S. Dixie Highway in July for $14.85 million, said the company’s intent was to come up with a successful mixed-use community.

“We pride ourselves on creating real mixed-use projects, especially in coastal communities that requires you to have successful retail to have all the components of a successful mixed-use project,” said Ballestas. “What we’ve tried to do is essentially take the master plan that was created and make basically a new version of it.”

He showed renderings of three-story apartment buildings, stores and restaurants with outdoor seating around a central park suitable for festivals or farmers markets. Renderings showed what the community would look like from the entrance on Greynolds Circle and from Dixie Highway.

“When Brightline goes through our town they’ll have a really great view of our 18-acre site and, hopefully, they get a good feeling of what Lantana is from that,” Ballestas said.

“You can call the park the heart of the project, but really for us the heart of the project is the retail,” he said. “What’s good about this is that the retail basically draws you onto the park, so it all kind of works very well together.”

The density proposed is 25 units per acre, he said. “We also tried to keep it sort of lower with three stories, which we did successfully.” A previous design he showed during a workshop in November had buildings at various heights, including one with five stories.

Town code allows for 15 units per acre, but the master plan permits 25, according to Development Services Director Nicole Dritz. She said some code changes would need to be made.

About 450 apartments will be spread across seven buildings. Nine percent of the apartments will be studios, 41% one-bedroom, 45% two-bedroom and 5% three-bedroom apartments. A clubhouse and pool are included.

For now, the Lantana Pizza building facing Greynolds will remain. When new retail shops are constructed facing Dixie Highway, the pizza shop will move there and the old building will be razed, making room for something new. Winn-Dixie and other stores located on the site will remain but get new facades. The old IHOP and bank on the east side of the property are not owned by Integra and aren’t currently part of the project.

Dritz said her staff has worked with Integra officials since 2022, even before the company bought the land.

“From October 2022 to now we’re to a point where both parties are feeling pretty good about what we have to present to you tonight,” Dritz said.

“I like what I’m seeing,” Mayor Karen Lythgoe said. “Unlike what we saw before, this is more like a neighborhood.”

Town Council member Chris Castle agreed.

“Overall, this is big improvement from the last,” Castle said. “I’d like to thank Nicole for following the master plan. We’ve spent a lot of time on that.”

Residents were allowed to comment, and one question that several people brought up was about elevators.

“Typically, with three-story buildings anyone who needs accessibilities stays on the first level,” Ballestas said. “The top two levels are walk-up. But based on the market we can decide if we want to do something on one building or not.” He said the problem with elevators is “things get very expensive.”

The Miami developer will have to comply with the Live Local Act that dictates at least 40% of the development’s residential units be “affordable” and, if the development is a mixed-use project, at least 65% of the total square footage of the parcel has to be used for residential purposes.

An earlier proposal from another developer was denied by the council in August 2022.

Integra’s plans are in their infancy, Dritz said, and more details will be coming.

Completion time for construction is estimated at 24 months.

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Comments

  • Dear Coastal Star,

    Unfortunately for Mayor Karen Lythgoe and her cohort, some of her residents do not like what we see and it sure is not getting a warm reception from them.  All my neighbors and I expect to see are more traffic, noise, trash, speeding, and casualities.

    Neighbors and I have been trying for over 3 years with Ms. Lythgoe and the Council to get more traffic mitigation and clean up of my neighborhood, which is adjacent to the very area that is being developed.  The Town, on the other hand, is intent on bringing more fast food chains, rental housing developments, and much more,   the Town Police Chief mocked my concern expresssed at a Town Council meeting where I pointed out  at least three deaths of pedestrians on Sputh Broadway, two within one block of my home.  A little boy was struck there about 2 years ago. There have been numerous accidents and a vehicle has driven off the intersection into the Water Facility property.  I asked the Town for a hearing on this intersection, which is one of the most dangerous in the Town and probably the County.  My appeals are ignored.

    The Town Council of Lantana schedules their meetings and hearings while working people like me most often have to work. Going to Town Council Meetings is futile.  A former activist who managed to get speed bumps in her neighborhood, who has been hazed, bullied, and harassed by the former Mayor, has told me the Council closes ranks whenever its residents try to change what are horrible situations.

    One of the long-standing Town Council members was reported calling the Town a bunch of losers.  He was right.  They are losers, and they have made us all into losers.

     I invite the Coastal Star to come walk down in my neighborhood.  Hang out on the corner of West Pine Street and South Broadway.  If your journalislts do not manage to get hit by a car or trip over broken pavement or not see pet waste and single use plastics littering the swail, as well as speeding vehicles going double the speed limit, write real journalism instead of rubber stamping development.

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