That big red “Sold” sign that recently appeared on the vacant lot along North Tamiami Trail between 14th and 15th streets, across the Trail from Whitaker Gateway Park, piqued our interest.
So we reached out to buyers Michael Halflants and John Pichette of Halflants + Pichette Studio for Modern Architecture to see what they have in store for the property.
“We purchased the property with the intention to develop it with 21 condos over retail,” Halflants told us. The project is named Whitaker Lofts.
Halflants is enthusiastic about the property’s location, just north of the burgeoning Rosemary District, across the street from the popular Reserve coffee shop and facing the waterfront Whitaker Gateway Park. North of the property, the 160-unit Strand condominium project is being developed on Whitaker Bayou and Ringling College of Art and Design is continuing to grow.
And, in the future, he told us, “The disused rail line which defines the eastern edge of central Coconut is planned to become an extension of the Legacy Trail.” There’s also a plan to connect Whitaker Gateway Park to Centennial Park, the Van Wezel and the rest of the city-owned waterfront.
The Florida Department of Transportation has multimillion-dollar plans to improve Tamiami Trail between 10th and 15th Street later this year, with two roundabouts, one on 10th and one on 14th at the southwest corner of the site.
Halflants says the FDOT will create a pedestrian link between the center of his site and Whitaker Gateway Park. “We will design the residential project above parking and around a courtyard,” he says. “A stair will link the shared elevated courtyard between the residential units with the path to the park.”
Halflants says his firm has just started on the design of Whitaker Lofts. The residential units will be built above parking and around a courtyard. “Once we are confident with the design direction,” he told us, “we will be looking for an investor to move the project forward.”