Growth, development and new things coming to town are central to TCPalm’s daily coverage of the Treasure Coast.
That includes new businesses, developments and restaurants as well as the local economy, in Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties.
Here are our latest stories about growth and development:
- Vero Beach may delay Three Corners project referendum again: A master conceptual plan includes a mixture of commercial and recreation uses on the property, at 17th Street and Indian River Boulevard. The power plant would be repurposed as a hotel conference center, with cottages and restaurants built on a promenade overlooking the Indian River Lagoon. The Youth Sailing Foundation would operate a facility on the south side of the property, where the wastewater-treatment plant is now.
- New luxury community on Bridge Road in Hobe Sound would be worth over $1.5 billion: A sprawling luxury community proposed next to Michael Jordan’s Grove XXIII golf club could be in the offing for Southeast Bridge Road. The private community, Atlantic Fields, would comprise a golf course and 317 luxury homes on less than 420 acres of the site.
- Indian River, Brightline settle lawsuit over safety improvement: Brightline will pay for about $31.6 million in safety improvements at the 32 rail crossings in exchange for the county to drop its lawsuit, according to an agreement made in June.
- Lyric Theatre to reopen with $1 million in renovations after long pandemic closing: The nearly 100-year-old building hosted its last show March 12, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shutter schools, businesses and live entertainment.
- Cheney Brothers to develop $55 million food-distribution center in Tradition, create 380 jobs: The family-owned and operated company, founded in 1925 will build a 427,000-square-foot, $55 million facility on 52 acres at Legacy Park, off Interstate 95 and Becker Road, which the city refers to as its jobs corridor.
- Vero Beach wants to get a share of Indian River County bed-tax money: The county imposes a 4% tourism tax, also known as the bed tax, on hotel stays or any accommodations of fewer than six months. Revenue is used to promote and advertise the county tourism industry.
- Indiantown takes $1.5 million from Martin County, agrees to keep Fire Rescue for five years: The magic number was $1.5 million. And in the end, the village — which tried to get more — agreed to take the money in exchange for keeping Martin County Fire Rescue services for another five years.
- 7 restaurants, food businesses opening or reopening in downtown Fort Pierce soon: A new ice cream shop has opened. A new organic grocery store and a new juice bar are opening soon. Two popular restaurants are reopening. And two beloved restaurants that have been closed may get a second chance.
- Costco project, with 398 apartment units, gets first approval: The 49-acre development would be built south of Martin County High School and Lychee Tree Nursery.
- St. Lucie County property owners demand lower tax rate: A Florida TaxWatch report released in 2019 found the county’s average total property-tax rate was 22.9 mills — the highest in Florida — and is the catalyst behind taxpayers’ growing frustrations.
- Outdoor fitness court opening in St. Lucie County this summer: The $190,000 project will be built by National Fitness Campaign, a San Francisco company that partners with cities, schools, corporations and design firms to fund and build outdoor fitness courts to promote a healthy lifestyle.
- Martin County will get $4 million to buy Hobe Heights homes a year after rain, flood damage: A year after Hobe Heights homes were flooded by about 30 inches of rain, leaving residents displaced, Martin County is prepared to buy 10 of the 13 most flood-prone homes.
- Is it too noisy to live along Crosstown Parkway? The city of Port St. Lucie may buy your home: Noise along certain stretches of Crosstown Parkway is so bad that the city is contemplating buying some people’s homes.
- New soul food restaurant adds Bahamian twist to Southern food: Sugar & Spice Soul Food Restaurant serves typical soul food and popular Southern dishes, such as fried chicken, smothered pork chops, oxtails, candied yams and fried fish, as well as desserts, including sweet potato pie and red velvet cake. But it also offers some Bahamian favorites, including conch fritters with seasoned rice and fried conch with sweet plantains.
- Stringers Tavern & Oyster Bar honors Stuart’s boatbuilding history: Martin County native Frederic “Fritz” Ayres strives to capture local history in his restaurants. And he has done the same with his latest venture. Stringers Tavern & Oyster Bar serves as a tribute to the area’s history of custom sportfishing boat manufacturing, said Ayres, the 37-year-old owner of Conchy Joe’s Seafood and Dolphin Bar and Shrimp House, both in Jensen Beach.
- Vero Beach stormwater proposal would assess taxes on public libraries, schools, churches: If approved, homeowners, businesses and governments would be assessed based on the amount of impervious surface on the property. Businesses, churches and schools, for example, would pay more than homes.
- Stuart City Commission OKs negotiations with Main Street over Flagler Park farmer’s market: The nonprofit offered to pay $1,500 annually for rent and invest 20% of net income into Flagler Park’s infrastructure to take over the Sunday farmer’s market. Green Market, the organization that currently runs the self-named event, pays the city $2,000 annually.
- Indian River, St. Lucie ranked among Florida’s top 10 for incoming migration during pandemic: Indian River County ranked fourth among Florida’s 67 counties, with a 9% rise in inflow/outflow ratios. St. Lucie County was ninth, at 6.2%.
- Thousands of St. Lucie County customers complain about trash pickups: Waste Pro, the county’s trash-collection contractor since 2004, has received nearly 8,700 complaints in the past 15 months from residents in unincorporated county, complaining that trash and yard waste pickup was delayed or repeatedly missed for months.
- Indian River County beach-erosion projects come to an end as turtle nesting season begins: The $14.5 million renourishment project was expected to be completed by May 1 because of turtle nesting. The contractor was unable to finish the work in time.
- Jensen Beach Mooring Field sees limited business in first months, yet Martin County remains optimistic: The $1.3 million project, designed to accommodate up to 56 boats tied to buoys that, in turn, are attached to permanent anchors, had brought in only $400 as of April 29. The on-land facility has amenities such as restrooms, showers and washer and dryers for laundry.
- A ‘sense of pride’ will return to Gifford as County Commission OKs adding name to water tower: The water tower was last painted in 2018 as part of the county’s routine maintenance. An Indian River County logo is painted on the east side of the tower so it can be seen from U.S. 1.
- St. Lucie County denies migrant housing project as neighbors mount strong opposition: Happy Food LLC, a family-owned business and subsidiary of Vero Beach-based IMG Citrus Inc., proposed four 2,930-square-foot dormitory-style buildings on 8 acres on Orange Avenue, 3 miles east of the Okeechobee County line. Each building would have housed 24 men in the United States on temporary agricultural work visas.
- Fort Pierce approves controversial short-term rental after applicant alleges discrimination: Susan Baker, mother of four and widow of a U.S. Air Force veteran, now can post her three-bedroom, two-bath Thumb Point Drive home on Airbnb, a website where people post short-term rentals and guests book stays.
- After fatal crash, Antilles residents keep pushing for U.S. 1 traffic signal at their community: On April 13, a red 2011 Kia sedan pulled out of the The Antilles and attempted to cross the northbound U.S. 1 lanes to turn south. Sue Marshbanks, 69, a passenger in the car, was killed when the Kia was hit by an SUV northbound on U.S. 1. The Kia’s driver, Irene Testa, 66, was critically injured. The two had carpooled to the community to attend a dinner with friends.
- Resident pushback could alter safety improvements planned for deadly Indian River Drive: Stop signs at the Midway and Savannah road intersections are installed. Other plans, such as installing raised, audible pavement markings; speed-reduction markings; and radar speed-feedback signs, could change.
- Vero Beach still considering stormwater tax, possible reduction next year: The city for years has considered a stormwater utility to help pay for projects and equipment such as street sweepers to reduce the amount of runoff into the Indian River Lagoon. The tax would create a more proportionate way of paying for the projects.
- Indian River County, chamber of commerce working on ‘open for business’ tourism campaign: When tourism took a nosedive last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a stay-at-home order, longtime marketing strategies had to change. Tourism officials switched gears to promote the county as a staycation destination, luring families away from crowded Miami beaches and other well-known Florida destinations to stay close to home.
- Millennial business owners bring new energy to downtown Fort Pierce: You can almost feel a buzz in the air. Just go to downtown Fort Pierce any Friday night or Saturday morning. Friends cross street corners from drinking local beer at Sailfish Brewing Co. to throwing axes at Hard Axe Lounge. Families dining at the expanding Sunrise City Cafe overflow into curbside seating. Vehicles circle Second Street looking for parking. There’s a new excitement in this historic section of the Treasure Coast.
- Saint Lucie Lanes bowling alley reopens with new name, new owners: When Laura Belschner’s husband suggested reopening and running the former Saint Lucie Lanes, she laughed. A month later, they resurrected the Port St. Lucie bowling center as Lucie Lanes.
- Sailfish Brewing Co. of Fort Pierce to open in Vero Beach: Everyone has a fish story. Sailfish Brewing Co.’s story began in downtown Fort Pierce as the first craft brewery on the Treasure Coast. And it continues with a second location in Vero Beach.
- Fort Pierce Trader’s Market brings organic grocery, cafe, yoga to downtown: A new grocery store inspired by Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market and Whole Foods Market will open this summer in downtown Fort Pierce. The Fort Pierce Trader’s Market, at 111 Orange Ave. in the historic One Eleven Building on the corner of Indian River Drive, will include a cafe; focus on local, organic and healthy food; and eventually be an activity hub.
- New restaurant serves craft coffee, Parisian street crepes: A new micro coffee roastery that serves Parisian street crepes pays homage to Fort Pierce’s oldest building downtown. Old Florida Coffee Co. at P.P. Cobb General Store opened this month in the iconic, two-story, white-and-green building at Avenue A and Indian River Drive.
- $1 million turns gas station on A1A into Piehole Wood Pizza: Ryan Evans drove by the old, abandoned gas station near his South Hutchinson Island home almost every day. The building, nestled among the mangroves lining State Road A1A between Fort Pierce and Stuart, has been vacant for about 30 years. After discussing ideas over beers, Evans and friend and neighbor Mark “Otis” Humphrey in 2018 bought the property, which is about a mile from their homes. They decided to turn “the ugliest building in Fort Pierce” into a pizza joint, and the name “Piehole” was born.
- New Bagel Boyz food truck opens with New York bagels, wood-fired oven pizza: Bagel Boyz, based in Jupiter for the past 15 years, has expanded by opening a food truck in Stuart. The food truck features a custom, wood-fired oven. The bagels are made from scratch, kettle-boiled like a New York bagel and baked at over 1,000 degrees. Then, the bagels are served plain or with spreads, or they’re made into breakfast and lunch sandwiches. During lunch, the oven is used to prepare hand-tossed wood-fired pizzas, chicken wings and sides, along with salads. The pizza dough and sauces also are made from scratch.
- Farm to Grass Music Festival promotes agritourism to save the farm: A Treasure Coast farm and longtime citrus grove is being transformed into a new entertainment venue — and hosting a February music festival — just to survive. Saint Lucie Farm Preserve, about 240 acres west of Fort Pierce, was established in 1960 by the Hale family, whose roots in the citrus farming industry go back seven generations. Honeybell oranges and white and ruby red grapefruit are a specialty of the farm. But every year gets worse in the fight against the citrus greening disease.
Laurie K. Blandford is TCPalm’s entertainment reporter and columnist dedicated to finding the best things to do on the Treasure Coast. Follow her on Twitter at@TCPalmLaurie or Facebook atfaceboook.com/TCPalmLaurie.