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Developer now plans no townhomes on Dodgertown Golf Club site


The Lakeland-based builder who wants to buy and develop the former Dodgertown Golf Club property said he expects to return to Vero Beach next month with a site plan that, at the City Council’s urging, won’t include any residential construction.

In his initial presentation to the City Council earlier this month, Mark Hulbert said he wanted to transform the city-owned, 35-acre parcel into a mixed-use development that would contain retail stores, restaurants, hotels, office buildings and plenty of green space.

His conceptual layout also included a small section of townhouses, but, after council members showed no interest in residential construction on the property, Hulbert took the hint.

He met with an engineer last week to revise his plan. He said he’d probably replace the townhomes with more office buildings in the development, which would be designed in a pedestrian-friendly, open-air style with trees, park-like fields and retention ponds, all enclosed by fencing.

“We didn’t get a lot of support from the council for the townhouses, so we’ll get rid of them,” said Hulbert, president of Hulbert Homes. “Actually, we prefer to not do residential on that property, but we were playing it safe. You can calculate, almost to the dollar, what residential construction will bring. You can’t do that with commercial, so we wanted the opportunity to include that one small section of townhouses.

“But that’s OK,” he added. “Our desire is all commercial, anyway, because we want to do something different there – something Vero doesn’t have. What we’re proposing is something the city would like to see.”

City Manager Jim O’Connor said the city staff, along with council members, are intrigued by Hulbert’s concept for the property, located at the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Aviation Boulevard.

“Getting rid of the residential construction steps up their chances quite a bit, but we’ll wait and see what the site plan looks like,” O’Connor said. “It’s something I believe is very marketable.”