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Date of Issue: November 17, 2005

St. Joe plans commercial project at Perico Harbor Marina

perico aerial

The St. Joe Company, formerly known as Arvida Corp., owners of the Perico Harbor Marina on Manatee Avenue West, submitted plans Monday to the Bradenton Planning Commission for a commercial development at property it owns fronting the marina at 123200 and 12320 Manatee Ave. W.

That property, presently occupied by the former Leverock's Restaurant and a convenience store, was purchased along with the marina last year by Paradise Pointe LLC, a company owned by the The St. Joe Company.

Attorney Clifford Waters, representing Paradise Pointe, went before the BPC on Monday, Nov. 14, with a plan for a "commercial preliminary planned development project." In addition, he also requested a change to the future land use map of Bradenton and a zoning change at the property.

Efforts to determine exactly what the "commercial" project would contain were unsuccessful, but Glen Compton, executive director of the environmental watchdog organization ManaSota-88, has previously indicated that when St. Joe bought the property it was interested in a retail-office complex.

 The BPC will make a recommendation to the Bradenton City Council on whether or not to approve the requests.

When St. Joe purchased the marina, it also received a Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit to dredge the marina basin for deep-draft boats, build docks to accommodate more than 200 boats, and eliminate the high-and-dry marina storage facility.

DEP spokesperson Pam Vasquez said Perico Harbor Marina transferred its permit to Paradise Pointe LLC of Fort Lauderdale in March 2005 as part of the sale of the marina to that company.

"The permit goes with ownership," she said. "A new owner does not have to apply for a new permit."

Vasquez added that the mitigation issues regarding the dredge permit have not been resolved, although the new marina owners have pledged to improve the environment of the Sister Keys in the bay adjacent to Longboat Key in exchange for permission to tear up about 10 acres of bottom area by the marina. The Longboat Town Commission has not yet approved the mitigation offer.

According to the Florida Department of State Web site, the registered agent for Paradise Pointe LLC is Danielle De Vito-Hurley, a lawyer with the Palm Beach-based firm of Gunster, Yoakley and Stewart. The Web site also states that a Feb. 11, 2005, change order to the formation of Paradise Pointe LLC was sent and confirmed by the St. Joe Corporation in Jacksonville.

The dredge permit had been opposed by several environmental groups on the grounds that dredging would damage Perico Bayou's grassy bottom and destroy what's left of the natural oyster beds in the area. As part of the mitigation proposal, the marina would have to move the oyster beds to a safer location and replant seagrass near the Kingfish Boat Ramp.

St. Joe is the largest private landowner in Florida, and after several years of lawsuits and controversy, was given approval in April 2004 by the City of Bradenton to build a 686-unit condominium complex on north Perico Island on property on the east side of Perico Harbor Marina. The project will include several 10- and 12-story buildings.

A site plan for the condominium project has not yet been submitted to the BPC.