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CORAL SPRINGS, FL-Locally based Amera Urban Development Corp. has broken ground for construction of One Charter Place, a 210,000-sf office and retail center at the southeast corner of Sample Road and University Drive. It is the first phase of Downtown Coral Springs, an urban center designed to include all four quadrants of that intersection. The revitalization project is being undertaken in a public/private partnership between Amera and the city’s Community Redevelopment Authority.

George Rahael, Amera’s founder and CEO, estimates the construction cost of One Charter Place, a curved four-story building, at $25 million and expects it to reach completion in fall 2006. The city sold the 3.9-acre parcel to Amera for $2.2 million, according to Erdal Donmez, assistant city manager. Amera, master planner of the entire Downtown Coral Springs development, has contributed $450,000 in improvements to the charter school adjacent to the property.

Donmez says Downtown Coral Springs encompasses approximately 138 acres, “including roads and probably contains about 70 developable acres. It is one of the oldest areas here and makes up 1% of the city,” he tells GlobeSt.com. Plans call for an eventual maximum of 1,674 residential units, “and it may or may not get to that level,” Donmez says, “depending on market conditions as those components get under way.” Residential construction will progress in phases with the first to begin in a year. Donmez says Bonita Springs-based WCI Communities will partner with Amera to co-develop the residential component.

“The plan contemplates multifamily buildings of various heights, none to exceed Coral Springs’ 10-story limit,” he says. “In drafting the plan, we contemplated half rental and half condo, but, presently the area market is turning to ownership, so we now anticipate the units will be condos.”

The redevelopment also calls for a public component, “a multi-use park surrounded by shops and restaurants on the southwest largest parcel of the project,” according to Donmez. Amera’s master plan describes it as an area with broad walkways through a central multi-level plaza that will link all of the project’s components into a walkable mixed-use environment. Rahael is currently out of the country and could not be reached by deadline. Projected costs for the entire development are not final.

In addition to Amera and the CRA, other members of the development team include Charlie Ladd, president of locally based Barron Commercial Real Estate Inc., and the Chicago-based architectural firm of Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates. General contractor is J. Raymond & Associates, which is headquartered in Altamonte Springs, and Wachovia Bank is providing financing.

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