Joseph Cranney, firstname.lastname@example.org; 239-213-60352:07 p.m. EDT July 12, 2016
A Naples property owner on Fifth Avenue South is planning a three-story condominium project across from the redevelopment by local hotelier Phil McCabe that has drawn criticism because it includes underground parking and extends above the city’s maximum building height of 42 feet.
But the new project proposed by Angele and Hadley Warwick conforms to height restrictions, which came as a positive sign to the head of the downtown neighborhood association.
“It's possible to develop an attractive and viable building under 42 feet and without underground parking,” said John Lehmann, president of the Old Naples Association.
The project’s builder, David Harvey from Stone Creek Properties, shared preliminary plans with Lehmann in May. At the time, Lehmann said he was “encouraged” by the outreach and the plans that conform to the building height restrictions.
Lehmann hasn’t seen the most-recent plans submitted to the city, which are scheduled for review by the city’s planning board next month, and declined to discuss specifics.
The owner of 505 5th Ave. S. wants to tear down the existing one-story retail structure and construct a three-story building with eight condos on the upper floors. The concept is planned for the lot across Fifth Street South from where McCabe is planning a similar mixed-use building with upper-floor condos.
A rooftop deck, which will be accessible to the building’s residents, will be built lower than the city’s maximum height of 42 feet above grade, said John Passidomo, the petitioner’s lawyer. The ground floor will consist of more than 7,100 square feet of retail space and residential units will range from 2,100 square feet to a little more than 2,400 square feet on the second and third floors.
Council members were split on whether the development will be a positive addition to the city's prized shopping district, considered the heart of downtown.
Vice Mayor Linda Penniman said she is concerned about an abundance of properties in close proximity on Fifth Avenue being renovated to three stories.
“I think we’ve reached the tipping point here on redevelopment,” Penniman said. “I am concerned about canyonization. That’s now going to be a darker street and there’s probably nothing we can do about that.”
But Mayor Bill Barnett said Fifth Avenue South should “continue to flourish” and without a deviation to building height, he said the project doesn’t appear to have “any major issues.”
In May, Harvey declined to discuss specifics on the project. He didn’t return messages this week.
Two downtown neighbors – Bob Martin and Joan Fiore – have pending lawsuits against McCabe and the city, claiming that McCabe’s project doesn’t adhere to the city charter and shouldn’t have been approved by the council last November.
Martin also organized a petition against the closing of Café Luna, the popular Fifth Avenue restaurant that was one of several businesses closed when McCabe chose to renovate his property.
The new plan will close three businesses – Oh My Gauze, Adelheidi’s Organic Sweets and the Florida Olive Oil Company.
Martin and Fiore have also argued that McCabe’s plan for a level of underground parking constitutes a fourth building floor and violates another provision of the charter that limits commercial buildings to three floors.
The new plans include 13 spaces of on-site surface parking. To satisfy the rest of the city’s parking requirements, the petitioners are offering the city $500,000, or what it would cost for 25 spaces at a city parking garage at $20,000 per space.