It was long thought to be a site perfect for the city’s vision of a medical district by eventually building medical offices, but the old Bradenton Herald site at 102 Manatee Ave. W. is now being planned for a 300-unit market rate apartment complex.
The $16 million Bradenton Herald building was demolished in the summer of 2015 after being purchased for $3.3 million in 2014 for eventual development.
Planning and Community Development Director Catherine Hartley said a preliminary site plan should come before the city council for approval soon and she already has approved the zoning requirements.
“They do have some minor adjustments to make and they are saving a great deal of the trees, especially on the east side versus building out the entire site,” Hartley said.
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Hartley did not return a call later Wednesday to reveal the developer, but said earlier that she will have more details on the project by the Jan. 17 city workshop. She did say Wednesday morning that, “It’s a good-looking project and they have invested additional money to make it look different than what we have around town.”
The project does allow some commercial elements, but Hartley said nothing commercial has been implemented into the initial site plans. It is possible commercial could be added as the plan progresses through planning, she said.
“But I’m happy it’s only residential at this time,” Hartley said. “The medical offices that were envisioned for that site only need about 30,000 square feet, so that makes the old Checkers site (across Manatee Avenue) even more viable and a better option now.”
Mayor Wayne Poston, who was once the Bradenton Herald executive editor in the old building, recalled when those trees were first planted.
“They are all still there,” he said. “It’s great that they are keeping them as a buffer. This is a better project than commercial because commercial would have been tougher there because of the access issues.”
More details on the development proposal will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, Hartley said, “I couldn’t be happier with what they are doing.”