If you've lived in Florida long enough, you've seen buildings that have been used for recreational or shopping purposes torn down to make way for new development.
After all, Florida is growing rapidly, and housing is needed for new residents. According to a study by the Florida Apartment Association, Florida will need 500,000 new housing units by 2030 in response to Florida's growth.
This need for additional housing may be one contributing factor to one Florida city's approval to demolish a large grocery building to make way for new apartments.
A Winn Dixie Building Is Out and Luxury Apartments Are In: In Lee County's Estero in October of 2023, the county zoning board approved the redevelopment for a property located at the corner of Coconut Road and Three Oaks Parkway.
As part of the redevelopment, the existing but vacant Winn Dixie will be demolished and turned into apartments. (The building in question was a Sweetbay before it was a Winn Dixie.)
Although there was reportedly a petition of 2,400 signatures, the board approved the demolition of the Winn Dixie in favor of a 4-story apartment building with a parking garage, a dog park, a pool, and a courtyard. Rentals in this apartment building are said to range in price from $2,500 - $5,000.
The developer will reportedly paint and design the apartments to blend in with existing buildings and landscaping.
The Basis of the Objections: According to WGCU, residents were concerned about wildlife, environmental issues from the building process, and obstructed views.
Kathy Wyrofsky, a homeowner, told the publication:
“Then there’s the question of the neighbors that are closely adjacent that will clearly see this building. Although we have some tall cypress trees in the preserve directly behind the homes, they’re deciduous. So come winter, we’re going to see a big wall where, you know, right now it’s sky and darkness and peace. So it’s a big difference, and it will devalue these homes. Absolutely. No doubt about it.”
And a business owner had an objection also. Tammy Rose owns a barbershop in the area. She told NBC 2:
“My issue is parking for my customers."