Manatee officials approve site changes to new shopping center planned for Parrish

In a new effort to attract tenants, developers say they want to bring nearly twice as much commercial space to a previously approved shopping center in Parrish.

Manatee County first signed off on the The Shops at Harrison Ranch project in 2012. On Thursday, the property owners, HC Properties, requested the Planning Commission approve a change in the maximum allowed commercial space — from 170,000 to 300,000 square feet on the northwest and northeast corners of Harrison Ranch Boulevard and U.S. 301.

“This is one of the few remaining pieces on this stretch of 301 where development hasn’t occurred — residential or commercial — so we’re excited we’re able to come back and re-envision some parts of this project,” said Rachel Layton, a planner representing the property owners.

The 30-acre site will now accommodate 10 commercial parcels, with an entrance on U.S. 301, as well as direct access on either side of Harrison Ranch Boulevard. While developers requested a specific approval for one of the commercial parcels to use at least 70,000 square feet, none of the parcels have been confirmed for specific businesses.

“After several years of marketing the site for sale, we feel like we needed some extra flexibility to enhance the property and get some end users lined up,” Layton said.

The site is just east of an existing Harrison Ranch residential community. Developers say they will include a decorative wall on that side of the shopping center to minimize noise, light and other potential impacts, as required by county code.

About three miles south of the Harrison Ranch property, Benderson Development and Walmart were working on plans for a new store, but that project fell through in 2017.

Planning Commissioner Mike Rahn said his only concern with the change was the heightened traffic in the area. According to county staff, FDOT is planning to build out that section of 301 into a six-lane highway, but it’s up to FDOT to determine if the intersection of U.S. 301 and Harrison Ranch Boulevard would be busy enough for a new traffic light.

The Planning Commission voted 7-0 to recommend approval of the amended General Development Plan. The request will come before the Board of County Commissioners at a later date.

Ryan Callihan is the Bradenton Herald’s County Reporter, covering local government and politics. On the weekends, he also covers breaking news. Ryan is a graduate of USF St. Petersburg.
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