A prime piece of vacant downtown Naples property once known as Grand Central Station was purchased today by Wheelock Street Capital. The Ronto Group of Naples will serve as Wheelock’s local development partner for the property, to be renamed Naples Square.
The 19.15-acre site is at the northwest corner of Goodlette-Frank Road and Fifth Avenue South. In 2005, the property was approved and slated for development of a mixed-use project called Renaissance Village, with 300 residential units and 205,000 square feet of commercial space, including a 1.9-acre adjacent site owned by Florida Gulf Coast University. Those plans were halted, however, by the downturn in the real estate market. In May 2012, the property, excluding the parcel owned by FGCU, was foreclosed by the lenders.
“We understand how important development of this land is as an economic catalyst for theCity and as a vital part of its Community Redevelopment Area,” said Wheelock principal Jonathan H. Paul. “We intend to spend the next several months carefully evaluating the best combination of high-quality residential, commercial and mixed uses that meet market demand and contribute to a prosperous, viable downtown.”
Anthony Solomon, executive vice president of The Ronto Group, said: “The planning process will focus on creating linkages with the surrounding area, promoting pedestrian activity, fitting into the fabric of downtown Naples, and reinforcing the role of the downtown as a community center and meeting place.”