In the Know: Groundwork for explosive development; and two polar opposites, Ferrari and Ollie's, prepare to open
My suddenly new friend, David Murray, of Bonita Springs, was among those asking about the following subject:
Since you have a great reputation for being the most read and most knowledgeable person in Southwest Florida regarding community activities, thought we would reach out to you to see if you have an opening date for the Ollie's Discount store in Bonita Springs at Bonita Beach Road and Highway 41 in the old Winn-Dixie store? I have heard it is an "interesting" store.
Aw shucks, David. You are indeed too kind.
The Ollie's Bargain Outlet in the Springs Plaza at 8951 Bonita Beach Road is slated to debut 9 a.m. Sept. 23. And yes, interesting is a good word to describe the place, which even its owners describe as "semi-lovely." But honestly not sure if it's even prettier than a Dollar Tree or the Goodwill, a couple or so doors over.
Founded in 1982, the chain launched in Southwest Florida last year at Colonial Square in south Fort Myers. So if you've been to that one or others, this larger than normal version at 41,680 square feet will have the same vibe.
I've said before it feels a bit like a garage sale, with boxes of stuff sitting on tables in some segments, and handwritten signs, often on yucky yellow posters. But that doesn't stop folks from lining up at the registers.
Let's talk luxury cars
If you have a little more change leftover from Ollie's, well, a lot more change, there's something else opening about a mile west from this intersection.
As my comrade David Dorsey of The News-Press reported this week, Bonita Breeze Luxury Auto Condos, 4276 Bonita Beach Road, is expected to be operating by December.
And check out this $750,000 investment of a washed up car wash by Ed Dublois and a partner. Purchased in 2015, the land will host 25 units of 800 to 900 square feet to make your personal Batmobile or Knight Rider KITT nice and comfy with plenty of room to spare.
The price on each slot starts at $289,000 to store up to four fancy wancy autos or an RV, and you can have the "home" customized to include a mezzanine level.
So let's see. Not great at math but multiplying 25 with the minimum asking comes in at $7.2 million. Yeah, that works. Not bad, Eddie.
More of our In the Know coverage:
- What are some of SWFL's biggest building deals of the first half of 2020?
- What are the fastest growing companies? And what's the latest on GT?
- Latest on downtown demolition and Old Naples Hotel
- The irony of the 'Nordstrom of the Midwest' potentially replacing Nordstrom itself
And the timing is pretty darn good for Bonita Breeze with the upcoming opening nearby of the blossoming Ferrari of Naples on U.S. 41, just north of Immokalee Road.
Several of you, like readers Guntis Lambergs and Mike Wexler, have been asking about this two-story 54,000-square-foot flashy spot, which also happens to be next to a not as swanky Walmart.
Owner New Country Motor Car Group has begun the hiring process so just a little more time before you can drive off its 3.4-acre lot at 11291 Tamiami Trail N. The longer term target has been as early as this month.
About a dozen jobs are now available through its site with Hireology, pretty much the kinds of tasks you would expect at a dealership. The valet position had a nice ring, imagining the opportunity to get behind the wheel of different funky models, but the description does include washing and vacuuming.
The company has brought in Helder Rosa as its general manager, luring him away from Cleveland, Ohio. Could it have been that hard? First LeBron, then LeBron again, and now Helder Rosa. Just kidding, my fellow fans of Ozzie Newsome and the late wonderfully great "Rapid" Robert "Bob" Feller. Cleveland rocks.
Having spent much of his career in the Rock and Roll Capital of the World, Rosa most recently served as vice-president of operations for Rafih Auto Group, managing pretty much everything involving Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Maserati, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, and Lotus vehicles.
So yeah, he knows spiffy cars and has been spotted around town in recent weeks as he gets to know Naples.
Changing rules for development
Greater areas for development. Larger towns and villages. Less environmental protections. Fewer affordable housing options. More taxpayer responsibility.
That's what's at stake when the county planning commission holds a 9 a.m. Thursday hearing on new rules for developing a large part of eastern Collier.
For the past two and a half years, hundreds of residents and groups have convened and commented at meetings and online, believing their input would become part of a plan for what is known as the Rural Lands Stewardship Area or RLSA.
That led to March's unveiling of a draft that has been vetted by many of those folks, who have provided feedback and prepared ahead of this week's official gathering. At the same time, developers have been lobbying county leaders.
Like an oil well suddenly spurting black gold on 1920s Oklahomans, large swaths of the 185,000 acres of the mainly undeveloped RLSA could bring similar financial pleasure a century later to the Eastern Collier Property Owners group or others seeking a smooth path to development in the area around Oil Well Road.
And currency has been flowing to those in power. For example, Commissioner Bill McDaniel has received more funding than any Collier office incumbent as he tries to win November re-election including the funneling of money from members of the so-called ECPO or those with a vested interest in the related industry.
Among the most recent green supplementing the campaign treasure chest: Five crisp $1,000 checks all came in to McDaniel on July 27 from Suite 100 at 2550 Goodlette Road in Naples.
According to public records, the five came from development entities with a similar name you might recognize dating back to our area's origin as part of the United States: Collier Enterprises Management; Collier Land & Cattle Corp.; Collier Land Development Inc.; CDC Land Investments Inc. and Collier Land Holdings Inc.
The following week, a new RLSA county draft emerged that perhaps came as a surprise to some, and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida pointed out had "substantial changes." The slicing and dicing sounded a bit like an Itchy & Scratchy segment from The Simpsons cartoon. Blood and guts all over the floor.
Among what's noted in the lead of this section of the column, the draft calls for more land to be used and bigger villages plus other proposals that could fall more heavily on the back of taxpayers.
You can see more in detail by going to this link of a slow-loading public record, or print readers can go online and Google the words, Collier County meeting calendar. From the result that should be at the top of your search, go to the Sept. 3 planning commission 769-page agenda packet.
McDaniel, the solo "no" vote in a pair of impact fee implementation votes on Dec. 10, has made no secret about the building faction allegiance.
“I’m proud to be supported by the development community. It takes a lot of money to run a campaign,” McDaniel said last month. “I’ve never denied that the development community is in support of how I do and how we go with what our community does.”
Earlier this year, he was part of a trio of commissioners, with colleagues Andy Solis and Donna Fiala, to do a historically rare override of a firm 4-1 vote by the planning board, which had recommended against the 2,500-home Rivergrass Village.
Among the objections cited by the planning commission or opponents, the Collier Enterprises project located in the RLSA would jeopardize the well-being of the endangered Florida panther, could cost taxpayers in the long run, and lacked walkability, ingenuity and affordable housing.
The planning board is scheduled to discuss RLSA rules Thursday and again Sept. 17 prior to county commission consideration. A final step is sending the concept, in the form of Collier growth management plan amendments, to the state for review.
Yes, the state, which under Gov. Ron DeSantis, has mandated construction start in two years of a toll road that's expected to run adjacent to the area of the now largely vacant RLSA and has been mostly opposed by citizens in meetings this year.
The word, stewardship, appears 1,679 times in the materials of Thursday's planning commission agenda. The public will find out what that word means in Collier when the County Commission eventually gets its hands on the plans.
The public can attend the meeting in person with a mask, of course, or online by going to the county government's home page at colliercountyfl.gov and clicking on Collier TV LIVE. To virtually comment at the gathering, you need to register by going to the planning commission listing from the calendar on the same county home page. Then click on the agenda, and a link is provided there.
Based at the Naples Daily News, Columnist Phil Fernandez (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes In the Know as part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Support Democracy and subscribe to a newspaper.