Sometimes, while generally considered a good thing, the 'wheels of progress' roll over those who are unwilling to adjust to change. Such is the case with the redevelopment taking place on the famed 5th Avenue South in downtown Naples, Florida. Recently announced, developer Phil McCabe plans to demolish one of his older, single story buildings on the north side of the avenue and replace it with a three story mixed use building that will have 11 residential units above 10,300 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. As with past renovations, McCabe will likely add beauty to his new structure and the overall improvements will far exceed that of the existing several decades old 'strip style' building.
What negatives could come from this redevelopment of a building that has seen much better days, you may ask. Well, the existing building houses several bars and restaurants which employ well over 100 people. The new plan calls for no restaurants or bars and unless these currently employed folks have a place to go, they will be looking for new jobs coming in May, 2016. Another perceived negative has been expressed by local residents who simply do not wish to see another three story building built in downtown Naples. Understandably, there are those 'oldtimers' who want Naples to slow down and maintain the quaintness they have enjoyed for many years.
In order to assuage everyone involved, I believe we can achieve a balance that will allow for redevelopment and maintain jobs and the quaint atmosphere Neapolitans have always enjoyed.First, we can do this by making sure the city ensures architectural integrity that Mr. McCabe proposes he will integrate with his new building. Second, existing employers along 5th Ave. can pitch in and help place those employees who will be displaced next May. Good restaurant and bar employees can always find a job in Naples!
As Barron Gift Collier, founder of Collier County once said, "You can't stop the wheels of progress" but you can make sure it's done right!
Mitchell L. Norgart
Gulf Coast International Properties