After nearly 4 years of planning, a public charrette, numerous meetings, and a citywide referendum, the steps are in place to move forward with the development of the Three Corners site in Vero Beach, FL. Last November, the city’s residents voted overwhelmingly – 80/20 – in favor of revising the city charter to allow commercial use on this piece of municipal waterfront land that will also include public park space. The one condition is that the chosen developer maintain the program and layout of the DPZ master plan.
Situated at the corner of 17th Street and Indian River Boulevard, at the foot of the Alma Lee Loy Bridge, and for many years the site of two Vero Beach utility plants, the Three Corners lots are among the most valuable waterfront parcels available for redevelopment in Florida. As such, this location has been the subject of conversation for years, prompting both residents and their City Council to proceed with great care and much deliberation.
Much of the discussion surrounding these 38 acres took place at a DPZ-led charrette in January of 2020 and throughout the months that followed it. The above charrette rendering of the waterfront vision, depicting a village of shops, restaurants, recreational facilities, and a promenade-fronted marina, came to be known as “The Standing Ovation Plan” due to the enthusiastic response to Andres Duany’s 2-hour charrette closing presentation.
The official Master Concept Plan for Three Corners as approved by referendum in November of 2022.
Despite the multiple plan options proposed at the charrette and several alternate schemes by DPZ later that year (watch Andres Duany discuss all the various ideas and answer community questions in this video), ultimately the Vero Beach community consensus focused on the following key points that were incorporated into the final Master Concept Plan in 2021:
- Converting Big Blue (the former electric plant) into a hotel.
- Converting land beside Big Blue into a public park with a skate park, marina, restaurants, and shops.
- Fronting the shoreline of the Lagoon with a promenade and a fishing pier.
- Using the land south of the bridge (site of a soon-to-be-relocated wastewater plant) as a field for community events, the home for the Youth Sailing Foundation (a not-for-profit offering free sailing instruction to the children of Indian River County), a visual performing-arts venue, and a nature center.
“The excitement surrounding the realization of the DPZ “Standing Ovation Plan” is like nothing I’ve ever seen in Vero Beach,” said Irina Woelfle, local resident, and community engagement subcontractor. “Getting this done is the number one priority for our elected officials, civic leaders, realtors — absolutely everyone in the community!”
The Aerial View of the Master Concept Plan
The “next steps” include identifying interested developers and subsequently entering into a development agreement with the winning applicant. In the months ahead, several regulatory adjustments must also be made. These include an amendment to the City’s Comprehensive Plan where the future land use designations and policies for the site must be made consistent with the Master Concept Plan, along with a map amendment to the City’s Official Zoning Map. The process will also involve conducting a traffic-impact study in preparation for the development.
That said, the city doesn’t need to wait until the land use change to receive proposals from developers. City officials are hiring a project manager and will be issuing the RFP for developers in the coming weeks. If you are a developer interested in the upcoming request, please contact Irina Woelfle at email@example.com
Three developers who have already expressed interest in the project via the city’s initial request for information include E1 Equity First (North Carolina), E2L Real Estate Solutions (Winter Park), and Donald J Urgo & Associates (Maryland).
Irina Woelfle added, “The excitement over the potential for Three Corners has even attracted the attention of New York’s Lincoln Center. They are entertaining the possibility of bringing to this location their annual Vero Beach Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society concert series.”