PORT ST. LUCIE — The mere mention of development in Tradition sparks excitement among small-business owners and city officials alike. The City Council on Monday rezoned 487 acres from agricultural use to master planned unit development acres, making way for Keiser University and a host of other potential projects in the area of Tradition dubbed the “economic corridor.”
The $14 million, 74-000-square-foot college building, on about 8 acres, is expected to be completed sometime next year, but, for a strategic reason, property owners asked to rezone much more property than the project needed. They are bracing for a boom with the need for retail, light-industrial manufacturing and housing.
“There’s a large industrial boom occurring in South Florida that’s fueled largely in part by improvements at the port of Miami as well as the growth of international trade around the airports,” said Wes McCurry of Fishkind and Associates, who represents Tradition Land Co., the property owner. “As a result, South Florida industrial rents and land — if you can find it — are at a premium.
“We’re also every encouraged by the prospect activity that we see coming through the Economic Development Council (of St. Lucie County), so as a result, we felt the timing was right to go ahead and rezone this entire 487 parcel to allow for industrial and office uses.”
The news of more potential development near Bagel Brothers of New York in Tradition is exciting for Donna Ceglio, who manages the delicatessen.
“It’s awesome and increases our level of business and we’re crazy busy right now,” Ceglio said.
Development in Tradition stalled after the Great Recession, but is picking up steam again, much to the delight of city officials who envisioned the area as a place to live, work and play.
Tradition Medical Center last week began an expansion project, due to be completed in 2018, that will double its capacity. The stalled Panera Bread restaurant finally is under construction and is to open early next year, and a shopping plaza with yet-to-be-named eateries and a WAWA gas station/convenience store are planned.
“What’s happening in Tradition is very exciting. … Keiser is a continuation of what’s happened with the hospital,” Mayor Greg Oravec said. “Tradition Hospital is the economic engine in that jobs corridor, and just this week we had the (expansion) ground breaking.”