Unicorp hopes to present a new plan later this month.
Chuck Whittall will return to the town's advisory Planning & Zoning Board later this month with a new request for a pre-construction sales office at 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive after the Town Commission rejected the plan on Monday.
Saying Unicorp National Development Inc.'s proposal for a zoning text amendment differed from the company's original proposal brought before the town more than a month ago, commissioners rejected the plan 4-3. Voting against the proposal were Mayor George Spoll, Vice Mayor Ed Zunz and commissioners Randy Clair and Jack Daly
“This is an entirely new application with a whole new set of considerations,” Zunz said.
Commissioner Jim Brown said denying Whittall’s request just delays the St. Regis hotel and condo project. “The 1970 code doesn’t recognize today’s business needs,” he said.
Commissioner Irwin Pastor shared Brown's view. “This is 2018 and conditions are entirely different,” he said. “They want this done sooner, not later. It’s very important we update this ordinance.”
Unicorp sought a zoning text amendment to allow a pre-construction office on the site of a project more than 10 acres in size with more than 40 units planned. Town codes dating back to 1970 prohibit on-site sales offices before project building permits are issued. Whittall's original proposal in October sought a blanket change in the rules, but the version voted on by commissioners added the acreage and unit thresholds to keep the change from affecting any sized projects islandwide.
Unicorp has proposed a $2 million, 3,000-square-foot modular sales office, which would house a model kitchen and living area. Revenue from the sale of the condominiums, which would range in price from $4 million to $10 million, would go toward funding construction. Whittall told the commission he needs to sell 50% of the units in order to secure project financing from his lender, J.P. Morgan, and a sales office would help him more easily reach that goal.
Following Monday’s denial, Whittall said he will take his zoning text amendment proposal to the town’s Planning & Zoning Board. The next meeting is Dec. 18.