Charlotte County business owners devise plan for new waterfront shopping center

Published: June 19, 2020 2:58 PM EDT
Updated: June 20, 2020 10:12 AM EDT

Recently, two Charlotte County business owners created a plan for a waterfront shopping center. Waterside Park is envisioned to be a place with waterfront shopping, restaurants, hotels and a potential place for watersports operation.

The complex would be in old Florida style and would contain 15,000 square feet of above-first-floor parking. The second floor would include a deck and gazebo area.

“I think it would be good. Obviously, it needs something,” Stephanie Dionian said with a laugh. Dionian grew up in Port Charlotte but now lives in North Carolina.

Some are excited that the area is in the process of being developed. “It used to be kind of quiet and quaint and now it’s kind of a little being built up. But I think it does need a little more “oomph” around here. I think it would be good,” said Dionian.

The owners want approval to buy the 3.6 acres from the county. “We bought it 1 for access to Live Oak Point, and second, as soon as we got that access, to resell that property,” said Dave Gammon, with Charlotte County Economic Development.

The group is requesting to buy the land for $2.7 million. The county purchased the land for about $4.5 million using mostly tax dollars.

However, the county says it wants to allow other bidders 30 days to submit their plans and offers.

The problem that Dionian and others seem to have is that the same sort of plan was extended for Sunseeker Resort nearby. The construction project is now on hold until late 2021. The residents just want to know why.

“I think that’s a little bit long of a delay and I’m a little curious why,” Dionian said.

Officials with the Sunseeker construction site said they couldn’t give WINK News an exact time frame for the completion of the project, but that didn’t stop residents from wondering when the apparent eyesore would be taken care of.

“It kind of looks like a mess really. I don’t know how else to explain it,” said Dionian.

But Dionian also said, while she enjoys the character of the area, she hopes some the development continues. “I would like to see the quaintness stay but also a little more incentive for people to come where it’s a little more built up and not too crazy,” she said.

A shopping and activity center of this size would make it the largest in the area. The potential buyers also want to extend the Harbor Walk onto the property.

The restaurant portion would employ about 150 people and the shops are expected to employ about 60 people.