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East Naples shopping center slated for residential makeover

After decades of no development in East Naples, changes are coming.

The Courthouse Shadows shopping center in East Naples is slated for a makeover, and there is positive buzz for a trend in development in this portion of Collier County.

The corridor along U.S. 41 near the intersection with Airport-Pulling Road is the focus for a proposed residential development in East Naples, a plot that currently serves no purpose. But to developers and businesses it’s a canvas, and people around here like the sound of that.

“It’s funny … Everyone says it’s happening so fast,” said Jeanne Harvey, owner of The Real Macaw Restaurant & Bar. “And I said, ‘Not if you were here for 28 years.’”

Harvey said she has stuck around the East Naples corridor for years.

“Truthfully, 15 years ago I thought when everything was booming, I said, ‘Well now they got to come this way. No,'” Harvey said.

Not quite. But, now, they are: Developers are looking at turning Courthouse Shadows from the deteriorated, unkempt, piece of land into a 4-story, 300-apartment, gated complex.

“Shopping and commerce is clearly a thing of the past here at Courthouse Shadows,” said Benjamin Heatherington, owner of the Crooked Shillelagh: Celtic Kitchen + Drinkery.

But for one of the few business owners along the East Naples corridor under the microscope, Heatherington said he knew there was more than meets the eye.

“It’s a great opportunity to have our foot in the door at the early stages and be a part of this whole growth and redevelopment here,” Heatherington said.

The six-member Collier County Planning Commission approved the proposal in a unanimous decision, and the plans for the development will be reviewed by the Collier County Board of County Commissioners at a later date.

Heatherington and his wife, Patrice, like what they’ve seen with development in the area and think it’s a path to success.

“The talk of the new development of apartments would be great to have that sorts of clientele that are close in walking distance,” Heatherington said.

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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