As part of its efforts to enhance its tax base and enhance the aesthetic appeal of buildings along University Drive, Coral Springs will relax its building setback requirements for owners looking to give their properties a face-lift.
City officials approved a request from staff for flexibility to work with property owners who are looking to make aesthetic improvements to a building by encroaching within the master parking areas. Most of the buildings along University Drive have a 137-foot building setback, which is more than twice the usual setback for properties in a business district.
The City Commission also approved a special exception allowing the owners of the Preferred Exchange Tower to build an entryway feature within the master parking area of the property. The entry feature facing University Drive will replace an existing canvas awning; the city’s code allows non-permanent encroachments within the master parking area.
The 300,000-square-foot building, constructed in 1986, is owned by BB University Drive LLC; the company purchased the property in 2013. The building, which fell into receivership during the economic recession, is currently being renovated; the multi-million-dollar project includes restoration of the lobby, common areas and exterior elevations. At one point, the building had a 75-percent vacancy rate, but about 50 percent of the building has now been leased out.
“The property owner has made substantial changes to the front facade, and we are in favor of that,” said Jim Hickey, assistant director of development services. “It really has helped to bring back the building; it is a much more modern look to the front.”
Commissioner Dan Daley thanked the owners for investing in the property. “The building is completely different, inside and out,” he said. “The money that you have invested into that property really makes a difference.”
The city will relax the rules for property owners only if the improvements enhance the aesthetics of the building, result in economic development and have been approved by the city’s Redevelopment Pilot Program Committee. Property owners will not be allowed to encroach within the master parking areas to increase the size of the building.
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