City, property owner break ground for Island Plaza improvements

Steve Stefanides

Tuesday morning saw officials from Hendricks Commercial Properties Group come together with city staff and members of the public for a ceremonial start to a multi-million dollar renovation to what many call the “Gateway Corner to Marco Island.”

Artist rendering of the Island Plaza pedestrian walkway.
Participants break ground for improvements at Island Plaza at Collier Boulevard and San Marco Boulevard on Tuesday.

For about two years, the owners of Island Plaza at the intersection of Bald Eagle Drive and North Collier Boulevard have been working to put together an acceptable plan to renovate the property.

Island Plaza Investments LLC, part of Hendricks Commercial Properties Group based in Beloit, Wisconsin, owns the Island Plaza retail/office center. They purchased the property in July 2013. Hendricks specializes in the purchase and operations of shopping plazas around the county and has indicated a desire to rehabilitate the plaza.

“We are very pleased to be standing here today and prepared to move forward on a project that we believe will certainly enhance the image of this center,” said Rob Gerbitz the president and CEO of Hendricks. “We really appreciate the way that the city staff has helped to guide us through the process and assisted us to get to this point.”

The Island Plaza property is seen as a “gateway” to the island by planners, city staff and residents who see this project as a catalyst for further enhancements to commercial properties throughout the island.

“We hope this is the first step and will act as an incentive for other property owners,” said Bob Brown, chairman of the Marco Island City Council. Brown was in attendance for the event and praised the city staff and city manager for working with the owners to make the project possible.

The Hendricks Group had originally partnered with the owners of the Progressive Auto Care Center and Storage Group to combine their two properties into a workable planned unit development that would see the two abutting property owners make enhancements to their facilities and create an interconnected and cohesive project.

When it became apparent that the owners and the planning board could not reach a consensus that made sense to Hendricks, the project was withdrawn from consideration by the owners in January.

Hendricks would eventually return to the table with a site improvement plan proposal with plans for a PUD dropped and most all of the proposed enhancements maintained.