Former pet shop on U.S. 1 slated to become an adult arcade

[Photo: Kaila Jones]

The former Cindi’s Pet Center at the corner of U.S. 1 and 8th Street has been leased by a partnership that plans to redevelop it as an adult arcade. Other corners of the busy intersection are occupied by an animal hospital, a Speedway gas station and an office complex.

According to county records, the working title for the project is “Lin’s Arcade” – the applicant listed on the file is Jinquan “Edison” Lin.

The .44-acre property, located at 721 U.S. 1, between the highway and the Florida East Coast Railway train tracks, is being leased through Billy Moss, of Lambert Commercial Real Estate.

Moss initially spoke with Vero News and confirmed the site would be converted into an arcade by an outfit well-versed in such projects up north.

“They know what they’re doing,” Moss said in January. The group is involved in other businesses around the county, he added, but declined to specify which ones or their type.

On a subsequent call, Moss said the principals were not yet ready to discuss the project in detail.

The property, which includes a 5,200-square-foot building with a panda mural painted on it, is zoned General Commercial and John McCoy, chief of community development at the county, said the project is an allowable use for the site. Documents highlight that while the use is different from the former pet shop, the overall intensity of the site is expected to be less.

The building, which county records say was constructed in 1950 and renovated in 1985, is no longer up to current development standards.

“There are several non-conformities on the site,” McCoy said – but the non-conformities are “grandfathered” in. That means Lin’s Arcade can remodel the interior of the building and continue to use it with the county’s blessing, but the exterior cannot be changed without being brought up to code.

The building encroaches on the 25-foot setback from 8th Street required under current code. It also encroaches on the rear setback for the site.

McCoy noted the property also has a continuous curb cut along U.S. 1, another non-conformity. Under current rules, there would be a 24-foot ingress/egress on U.S. 1 and landscaping. But he said if the building is left as is – aside from cosmetic changes, such as exterior painting – there would be no need to bring the property up to current building codes.

The county property appraiser’s office values the corner lot and building at $361,500. According to Loopnet.com’s listing for the property, the proposed lease price is $10 per square foot. Moss did not reveal the actual lease rate secured for Lin’s Arcade.

Some people object to arcades as a type of gambling establishment and there has been controversy about their legality and whether county or state laws govern them, but McCoy said it is not for the county development department to judge what businesses should move where or try to tip the scales in one way or another as long as they fit within zoning requirements.

“The use is allowed,” he said of the planned arcade. However, he said, in his opinion, future development on the site might be better served if the former pet store property were consolidated with adjacent properties. Doing so would allow for larger development to serve the area – giving it “better elbow room.”

“It is an awkward site,” McCoy said.

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