By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel
Three proposed developments held up by the recession are back in the pipeline.
The projects, originally approved at the height of the real estate market, have resurfaced with new, slightly downsized plans: Trotters Chase, Sierra Ranch and Saddle Bridge.
Each project won key approvals from the Town Council this week.
Trotters Chase, approved by town leaders in 2007, was to be a mixed-use project with 204 apartments, offices and shops built on 30 acres fronting the south side of Griffin Road between Southwest 58th and 61st Avenues.
Now called Horseshoe Lake, the project has a new developer and a new plan.
Hollywood-based MG3 Development Group wants to build 180 townhomes — and will need state and county permission before returning to Davie for final approval.
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Councilman Bryan Caletka voted against Trotters Chase in 2007 but approved the new plan Tuesday night.
“I’d hate to see a large apartment building there, and they’re entitled to it right now,” Caletka said. “I’m going to support this. I think it’s the right thing to do.”
If all goes as planned, the project would break ground in a year, said Dennis Mele, attorney for the developer.
“It’s amazing how many previously announced projects that have sat on the shelves for the last seven or so years are now being reannounced for redevelopment, but generally with modifications,” said Jack McCabe, a real estate analyst in Deerfield Beach.
“In most cases, developers have decided to downsize from their previous development plans,” McCabe said. “They are actually seeking lower densities from their previous approvals.”
That’s pretty much what happened with the trio of projects in Davie.
The developer of Sierra Ranch, Boca Raton’s Home Dynamics Corp., in 2006 proposed building 89 homes on vacant land east of Hiatus Road near Earnest Road. The new plan calls for 79 homes.
“Sierra Ranch was approved at the height of the market,” said Mele, attorney for the developer. “The housing market was in such poor condition, it didn’t make sense to build. Then the market started getting better again.”
The developer came up with a new plan that would preserve most of the wetlands on the site, Mele said.
Saddle Bridge was approved for 78 townhomes and two 20,000-square-foot office buildings on the south side of Griffin Road between Southwest 76th and 78th Avenues.
The townhomes were built, but the developer held off on the office buildings because of the poor market conditions, said Scott Backman, attorney for California-based Standard Pacific Corp.
Now, instead of office space, the developer plans to build 28 townhomes. Four two-story buildings would house seven townhomes.
“The developer is reacting to market conditions,” McCabe said. “There’s more of a demand for housing all around. The office market is still one of the slowest product segments to re-emerge from the recession. And while we’re creating jobs, we’re not creating that many office jobs.”
Council members Susan Starkey, Caryl Hattan and Caletka approved all three projects.
Mayor Judy Paul cast dissenting votes against Trotters Chase and Sierra Ranch, saying she’d like to see them downsized even more. Councilman Marlon Luis also voted against the Sierra Ranch proposal.
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