Naples planners OK consolidating Daily News downtown property

The former Naples Daily News building on Central Ave, is set for destruction some time this summer.  The property the building sits on has not yet been sold and Scripps Howard, this paper's parent company, will not disclose the cost of the demolition.  Michel Fortier/Staff

Photo by MICHEL FORTIER

The former Naples Daily News building on Central Ave, is set for destruction some time this summer. The property the building sits on has not yet been sold and Scripps Howard, this paper's parent company, will not disclose the cost of the demolition. Michel Fortier/Staff

A downtown Naples property was transformed from 10 parcels of land to two within a matter of minutes this week.

The city’s planning board Wednesday approved a request by the E.W. Scripps Co., which owns the Daily News, to replat 10 acres of land on or near 1075 Central Ave. The request was made in an attempt to clean up property lines and easements for future redevelopment.

The nearly 10-acre property is under contract to purchase, and Michael Fernandez, the contract purchaser and the owner of Planning Development, Inc., said the plan is to create a mixed-use development on the property that includes both residential and commercial space.

Fernandez, and his company, isn’t new to the planning and development scene. Planning Development, Inc. was the original designer of Marbella Lakes, a residential community just off Livingston Road.

The Naples-based company was also the behind Allen Systems Group Inc., north campus. The company also worked with developers of the Regal Point condominium project, 1100 Pine Ridge Road.

Fernandez’s company also designed the Arboretum, a mixed-use development once planned for Bayshore. The company took possession of the property in April after foreclosing on a lien.

But Fernandez is quick to point out the Daily News project is one that “we’re doing personally,” not for another company.

The mixed-use project would create about 117 residential units – all tentatively planned to be in the $250,000-to-$300,000 price range – and have about 84,000 square feet of commercial space.

The development will be focused around an acre plaza, Fernandez has said.

Fernandez said his company will likely act as the master developer, and the property will be developed in phases and possibly with the help of different developers.

“We can do the whole thing, if we were able to get financing for the whole project,” he said. “But a project of this scope probably is best if it was phased.”

Before any site work can begin on the property, the Daily News buildings need to come down. The city issued demolition permits July 28, and Timothy Stautberg, chief financial officer and treasure of the E.W. Scripps Co., said earlier this week demolition was scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Fernandez said he plans to submit a site plan for administrative review in about a month.

The replat request needs City Council approval before it becomes official. Naples City Council is set to discuss the request Sept. 15.

Connect with Naples reporter Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster at www.naplesnews.com/staff/jenna-buzzacco

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