Three Corners: Four development groups submit proposals


Four development groups – including one based in Vero – submitted proposals to Vero Beach city officials for the Three Corners project.

A fifth group attempted to submit a proposal, but it arrived at City Hall 15 minutes after Friday’s 2:30 p.m. deadline and was not accepted.

“It was just a manila folder,” City Manager Monte Falls said. “The other four proposals came in boxes.”

Three of the proposals submitted on time were from out of town:

  • Clearpath, which is based in Bloomington, Indiana, and markets itself as a “comprehensive real estate development, investment and services firm.” It’s president and corporate counsel is Randy Lloyd.
  • Edgewater Group, a Fort Lauderdale-based firm that has designed and developed more than 44 marina and other waterfront projects around the world.
  • SUDA, Cred Capital, and Madison Marquette, a partnership of developers looking to bridge generational trends that will reshape future urbanism.

The fourth proposal was submitted by Vista Blue Vero Beach Resort & Spa, a group headed by Donald Urgo, president and CEO of Maryland-based Urgo Hotels & Resorts.

Urgo, 86, has had a home in Indian River Shores for the past two decades. Vero officials said he has been interested in the Three Corners property for at least the past four years.

In fact, Urgo was one of three developers who responded to the city’s request for information in April 2022. The other two did not submit proposals last week.

One Vero official said Urgo, who five decades ago helped the Marriott Corporation expand its hotel empire globally, previously attempted to launch other projects in the city, but his efforts were rebuffed by anti-development factions.

“He loves Vero Beach,” the official added, “and he wants the Three Corners to be his crowning achievement here.”

City Planning Director Jason Jeffries said state law requires the proposals to be treated as sealed bids, thus their content will not be made public for 30 days. Not even City Council members may see the submissions.

Instead, copies of each of the four proposals were promptly delivered to the seven members of the city’s Three Corners Selection Committee, which includes Jeffries, Finance Director Steve Dionne, Public Works Director Matt Mitts and Water-and-Sewer Director Rob Bolton.

The three non-staff members of the committee are Planning & Zoning Board Chairman Jeb Bittner, Finance Commission Chairman Robert Jones and Vicky Gould, who chaired the Three Corners Steering Committee.

The committee members will independently review the proposals and rank them based on criteria that include the developers’ financial means, technical capabilities and conformity with the council-approved Three Corners Concept Plan.

The members are prohibited from divulging or publicly commenting on the proposals’ contents during the 30-day embargo, which ends on March 4.

The committee then, as a group, will invite the developers of what it considers to be the best three proposals – and possibly all four – to come to Vero Beach for in-person interviews.

“Typically, in a process like this, you interview the top three,” Falls said. “But since we received only four proposals, we might as well bring them all in and give everybody an opportunity to talk about what they want to do and why.”

Falls said the committee’s meetings will be open to the public, but state law requires the interviews with each individual development group to be held in a closed session.

The purpose of the law, he added, is to prevent the development groups interviewed later in the session from benefitting by adjusting their responses based on having heard the committee’s questions and seeing its reactions to the answers given by the earlier group or groups. “No one should get an unfair advantage,” Falls said, adding that a video of the committee’s interviews will be made available to the public the following day.

He said the meeting at which the committee will conduct the interviews will start in public and, after the closed session has concluded, resume in public, where members will discuss what they’ve heard from the development groups.

Currently, the city has hired a consultant to investigate the development groups’ financial capabilities and conduct criminal background checks on their executives. “We don’t want to be embarrassed,” Falls said.

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