Murdock’s shift from woods to urban mecca on display Monday

Betsy Calvert, Sun Port Charlotte — January 12, 2020

PORT CHARLOTTE — Two developers will present plans to transform hundreds of acres within historic Murdock Village today before the Charlotte County Planning and Zoning Advisory Board.

Kolter Land Partners has already begun massive clearing on its 436-acre section. It will present its proposed layout for the next two subdivisions to be called The Hammocks and The Isles in the southwestern corner of the site near State Road 776. These two subdivisions will contain 431 single-family homes. Kolter has so far been clearing on the west side of the site that it bought from the county for $11.6 million earlier this year. Kolter renamed its site West Port.

Not as far along, Lost Lagoon Development LLC will present more of its conceptual plan for the non-residential development of Murdock. For its Arredondo Pointe project, Lost Lagoon lays out its plan for a 45-acre water park, up to seven hotels totaling 1,250 rooms, conference space, multiple performance spaces, and Port Charlotte’s first downtown.

As part of Lost Logoon’s request for a zone change, county staff submitted pages of design requirements that restrict how the roads, buildings and landscaping can proceed. The goal is to create a walkable and aesthetic downtown that will serve as a commercial and social hub. Building heights can reach 150 feet in the commercial areas, and 170 feet in the water park.

“With an eye towards making Charlotte County a prime music and entertainment destination, Arredondo Pointe plans to incorporate several live venues, including a live, outdoor music amphitheater, as well as several smaller music, arts and theater venues throughout the property, the Orlando-based developer stated in its recent proposal. “This new entertainment district will stimulate, synergize, and provide for the community by creating both demand and fulfillment through an innovate mix of market sectors…”

Lost Lagoon promises its development will promote environmental sustainability in its water and energy use as well as protection of the natural world and promotion of a healthy lifestyle.

At a separate meeting last week, Lost Lagoon executives told an advisory board that it will be building the waterpark in phase two and the downtown in phase three. They expect to begin phase one this summer with construction of one hotel and adjacent commercial buildings outside the proposed downtown area. The waterpark would begin not long after that, according to the project timeline. The downtown construction would begin in 2021.

Lost Lagoon is scheduled to take over ownership of its 160 acres by April with a $6.7 million sale price. For both developers, the county has agreed to return the money as each developer completes roads, water and sewer piping, sidewalks and other aspects of infrastructure.

West Port will be largely residential with some commercial and hotel space. Lost Lagoon, or Arredondo Pointe, will have no residential component other than hotels.

The advisory committee will be asked to recommend these projects before they go before the county commission for final approval. They meet at 1:30 p.m. at 18500 Murdock Circle.

These projects have been in planning since as far back as 2016. The proposals must fit in with new zoning rules adopted in 2003 for the Murdock Village Redevelopment Area. That was when the county rearranged the region which had languished since being laid out unrealistically in the 1950s.