Communication Builds Our Community

Green Gables Location to be Rezoned for Apartments

US 27 Site Could Contain 225 Units

A plan to rezone and redevelop the existing Green Gables Inn site to create as many as 225 apartments on the 8.84 acres was reviewed at the City Commission workshop Wednesday. No objections were raised during discussion, and the proposal is expected to be approved at a formal meeting on Tuesday.

The proposal changes the current zoning of Limited Commercial-Industrial to high-density residential, allowing up to 25 units per acre.

"They're gonna have to go up," said Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson.

"They will have some challenges fitting parking, (storm water) retention" on the site, responded Development Services Director Mark Bennett. but added that "because we increased our densities, it now provided enough of an incentive for a developer who can put this project together and we get a redevelopment project in the city."

"It's filling in the gaps," said Mayor Eugene Fultz.

"In case you couldn't tell, staff is pretty excited about this project," Bennet replied.

Apartment demand has increased as home prices have soared in the last 18 months, leading to multiple apartment project proposals. Others are the 480 unit Parc at Lake Wales planned for the intersection of US 27 and Waverly Road and the 91-unit Towerview Apartments at the entrance to Towerwood mobile home park. An additional 152 townhomes will be constructed at the northern portion of the Hunt Club North project., but those will not be rental units.

The most-recently completed apartments in Lake Wales were the 335-unit luxury Serenity at Lake Wales, which filled in a matter of a few months.

The 52-room Green Gables Inn is a former Howard Johnson's which was constructed about 1959 following the construction of US 27. "It's a little past it's prime," one commissioner commented, drawing a bit of laughter from others in the room. The adjoining Howard Johnson's restaurant has been remodeled on several occasions and is now the Sizzling Grill, which will not be a part of the project, and will remain in place.


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