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An apartment complex will be built at Port Charlotte Town Center after the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners gave approval to the developer, Avery Port Charlotte LLC, this week. 

The Avery at Port Charlotte will be a five-story residential building containing 250 apartments and will include a clubhouse, resort-style pool, fitness center, business space and bike racks. The project at 1441 Tamiami Trail will sit on 7.01 acres and will be managed by Aventura, Florida-based multifamily and mixed-use real estate firm Meyers Group. 

The former Macy’s department store will be torn down, and the apartment complex will have a U-shape and be in front of where the store sat, county Economic Development Director Dave Gammon said. 

Buildout is expected by March 15, 2030, and its expiration date is March 15, 2032. 

Planning and zoning official Shaun Cullinan explained the complexities of the project before the board, such as some land-use issues that were never completed when the Murdock Center land-use rezoning began years ago. 

All of the commissioners approved the community development project except for Commissioner Chris Constance, who said the project would take away from the community if it loses vendors and becomes fully residential. 

In addition to The Avery project, zoning allows for an additional 472 units, for a total of 722 apartment units that could be built at other sections of the Town Center. 

Dillard’s and Bealls are the only company-owned stores remaining at the mall. JCPenney is part of the mall property, and Regal Town Center movie theater and Recreation Warehouse are among the businesses with leases, Gammon said. 

While Constance said he favored keeping vendors at the mall site, other commissioners had differing opinions. 

“You have a mall that’s dead,” Commissioner Joe Tiseo said. “Nobody is going there.” 

He said the commission has sought a walkable, livable community, such as the one proposed. The project will reinvigorate the mall for the remaining businesses, he said. 

Commission chair Bill Truex had some reservations about future development at the mall, explaining he wasn’t in favor of selling areas of the mall in pieces and feared development could create traffic congestion. However, he was in favor of moving forward with the project. 

Truex cited the lack of housing in the area that was “short 10,000 units several years ago.” While the county has thousands of vacant lots, he noted everyone can’t afford to buy a house and some must rent. 

Commissioner Stephen Deutsch agreed that over time shopping patterns have changed with more people making purchases online. 

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