By Mary Thurwachter

    The Lantana Town Council will get its first look at the site plan for Water Tower Commons, the 73-acre development planned for the former A.G. Holley tuberculosis hospital, on Sept. 28. But the Greater Lantana Chamber of Commerce got a peek at plans during a July 31 gathering at Pearl’s Next Generation Restaurant.
    Planner Ken Tuma of Urban Design Kilday Studios said that the old water tower on Lantana Road will be the centerpiece of the development and the tower will be bathed in blue LED lights.
    The 127-foot tower “may not be the coolest thing during the day,” he said, but “at night it will be amazing.”
    Some elements of interest include a traffic light at the proposed entrance on Lantana Road, a 40,000-square-foot grocery store on the northwest corner of the project, a waterfall-like structure on the main street and lots of landscaping, including four to six trellises with bougainvillea.
    A proposed gas station would require a special exception from the town’s code.
    Developers said Water Tower Commons would create an estimated 700 retail jobs and bring the town about $1 million a year in property taxes.
    Residential units will likely include apartments, condos and town homes. Stores and offices are also part of the mix.
    Tuma and the site plan came before the town’s Plan Review Committee on Aug. 18. Although no recommendations for approval were given, town staff did provide comments since the plan still lacked the meshing of commercial and residential that town officials have sought since developers Southeast Legacy Investments introduced plans at the beginning of the year.
    Headed by Kenco Communities’ Ken Endelson, Southeast Legacy coupled with Wexford Capital to pay $15.6 million to the state for the land a year ago.
    The tuberculosis hospital, owned by the state, closed in 2012.
    According to a memo to Tuma from David Thatcher, Lantana’s development services director, “on several occasions, the town has recommended that the applicants reconsider the overall design concept of the entire development to ensure integration of the residential and commercial activities as contemplated by the town’s comprehensive plan.”
    Thatcher said the proposed development should closely follow building regulations in the code rather than request many deviations.
    Willie Howard contributed to this report.

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