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Plant City Gets First Peek at Village

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Plant City Gets First Peek At Village
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Published: May 5, 2007

PLANT CITY - The coffee shops and quaint, charming restaurants have yet to open, but Donna Jean Crocker imagines gourmet scents wafting from street level to the apartments above.

Wouldn't it be nice opening the double doors in the morning and smelling brewed coffee or fresh-baked bread, Crocker asks as she looks over the balcony's rail to a blank storefront below.

To have shops not only within strolling distance but also literally at the foot of your staircase?

To have, as Crocker puts it, a lifestyle "in the center of where everything is going on?"

That "center" is called The Village, Crocker's $2.8 million mixed-use development in the 2800 block of James L. Redman Parkway. Construction of Phase 1 of the upscale residential and retail center was completed last week, and an open house for the public will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Six two-bedroom apartments with 1,250 square feet and 13 units for retail and offices are available for lease in the first phase.

When Phase 2 is completed next year, The Village will be on about 4 acres adjacent to Wal-Mart's parking lot. The project eventually will boast 10 apartments totaling more than 17,000 square feet and 24 units of commercial space totaling about 34,000 square feet.

"I've done apartments. I've done offices. I've done retail," said Crocker, a Plant City resident and developer. "I've never done it all in one spot."

Plant City officials say The Villages is the type of development they'd like to see in at least two parts of town, in the area along James L. Redman Parkway from Griffin Road to Trapnell Road and in the midtown area south of the historical downtown business district.

Open-air town centers are the wave of the future, Crocker said.

"It's the hottest thing in the United States right now," Crocker said. "I thought it was time for Plant City to have one."

Ray Reyes
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