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Developer shrinks Thompson Bridge condo plan
Units could sell for $500,000 to $1 million
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A Gainesville developer’s request to scale down a lake-front housing development sailed through the second stage of the city’s planning process Tuesday.

On Tuesday, David Mercer told the Planning and Appeals Board that because of the economy, Harbor Station Associates needs to downsize previously approved plans for a 10.35-acre condominium complex on Thompson Bridge Road behind the Rubicon building.

"We’ve over-designed this development. I think we were seeking perfection, and we probably priced ourselves out of the market," Mercer said.

In January 2007, the city approved the developer’s plans for three to five, five-story buildings with 112 condominiums, a pool and a boat dock.

Mercer asked planners Tuesday to approve changes to the planned unit development that brought the number of condominiums down to 90, reduced their size and cut the height of the buildings from five levels to three.

"What we are discovering in talking to folks is what they wanted yesterday has changed, so we need to change," Mercer told the board. "They are asking for smaller, more efficient, less expensive, but they don’t want the quality change."

The new plan for the development also allows for more "green space" than the previously approved development. Most of the driveways have been replaced with landscaped courtyards, Mercer said.

Where the old project required extensive grading, Mercer said the developers now want to build the condominiums with the slope of the land.

"It’s a much better project than we had before, and I thought the one we had before was excellent," he said.

Mercer told the planning board he plans to sell the finished product for $500,000 to $1 million each, and said he was hopeful that the economy would begin to rebound later this year.

"We have interest, but we don’t have contracts," he said.

With no opposition, the planning board voted to recommend approval of Mercer’s request to the City Council. The City Council will hear the matter April 6.

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