City council approves plan for downtown

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Posted July 8, 2021 | By Joel Bronson,

A plan for the development of residential and retail space in downtown Ocala was approved by the Ocala City Council on July 6.

The council voted unanimously to approve the developer’s agreement with Brick City Residences and Shops, LLC. The project is planned for the 400 block of Southeast First Avenue.

The plans include 16 residential units covering an estimated 17,400 square feet. The units would occupy the upper portion of the proposed building. The first floor would include nearly 9,000 square feet of retail spaces. The proposed construction site is currently two vacant lots.

Gary Thurston is listed as the principal of Brick City Residences and Shops, according to state corporation records.

Thurston is the CEO of Ocala-based Advanced Holdings Real Estate LLC, according to his Linkedin profile.

The retail and residential project is estimated to cost $3.5 million.

The city will include several incentives to offset the costs, including waiving building permits and impact fees, a projected $53,956 savings to the builder. In addition, because the project is located within the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area (CRA), water and sewer impact fees will automatically be waived, according to a city council report.

The city will also cover the cost of constructing water, sanitary sewer, and electric utility access for the project.

Construction will include underground utility lines, decorative street lamps and planters along the public right of way, as well as the replacement or installation of sidewalk within the public right of way adjacent to the property.

The city’s incentives would total $355,653.

“This is a great project,” said Councilman Jay Musleh before the vote.

Aubrey Hale of the city’s Growth Management Department said the downtown area could support an additional 670 to 850 dwelling units.

The project is estimated to take roughly 18 months to complete after initial construction begins. The timeline for the start of construction was not immediately clear.

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