Villages VP takes questions on apartment-style living

The Villages is requesting approval to build a few apartment homes in the second story of four buildings at Spanish Springs Town Square.

A top Villages official has provided the Lady Lake Commissioner Ruth Kussard with answers to frequently asked questions ahead of an Oct. 5 meeting on The Villages’ request to bring apartment-style living to Spanish Springs Town Square. Marty Dzuro, a vice president with The Villages who has helped build the community for three decades, said the concept of apartment-style living is designed to enhance the town center as a focal point for residents. Revitalization of the Spanish Springs area has in recent years included the creation of The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, the upgrading of homes in Orange Blossom Gardens and the renovation of the Rialto Theatre. Apartment-style living, which also is being considered at the nearby site of the former Hacienda Hills Country Club, has been increasingly requested by residents, Dzuro said.

Why build apartment homes at Spanish Springs?

Just as apartment-style living in the Lofts at Brownwood and Freedom Pointe have been popular, we’ve had residents excited about Spanish Springs. Residents are asking for them, and we wanted to have an opportunity to offer a similar apartment-style living option in Spanish Springs as we have in Brownwood.

Is The Villages going to tear down buildings at the square?

No, there are no plans to change the way the town square looks. We have a substantial investment in Spanish Springs, and we are committed to supporting the success of stores and restaurants that make our town square what it is.

Will the proposed Apartment homes At Spanish Springs be age-restricted?

They will have the same age restriction requirements as other Villages residences.

Why not leave the space alone for more businesses?

In addition to offering a maintenance-free lifestyle for residents, second-story residential in Spanish Springs gives us another option for space that is not highly desired by retailers or restaurants. Our request is for the upper floors only.

How many apartment homes are being requested?

Not many, nothing like the scale of The Lofts at Brownwood. For example, we think we might be able to design seven apartment homes in the former site of Katie Belle’s restaurant.

Won’t adding apartment homes take away parking for the public coming to enjoy the square?

Apartment homes actually use less parking than restaurants, office and retail spaces. For example, the town’s parking regulations required 209 parking spaces for customers and employees at Katie Belles. Seven apartment homes in that space would require only 16, which opens up 193 spaces for folks visiting the square.

What about the extra strain on the nearby swimming pools at Chula Vista, Rio Grande and Hacienda?

This small number of people should have little or no effect on amenity usage. The Villages Recreation and Parks Department confirms that the Chula Vista adult pool, Rio Grande family pool and La Hacienda sports pool are nowhere near capacity. In addition, we’re attempting to add a sports court and pool at the former Hacienda Hills location at a size that generally supports 2,000 residents.

Will apartment home tenants pay amenity fees?

Residents transitioning to apartment-style living in The Villages participate in the amenity fees and privileges they previously enjoyed throughout the community. Since Spanish Springs is not part of a residential CDD, fees from apartment homes there would go to the Developer to fund the creation and maintenance of new amenities for that area, such as the Hacienda Hills pool.

Could those apartment homes be sold as condominiums?

There are no plans to do that.

Apartment homes also are being considered for the second floors of three other buildings at Spanish Springs. What would happen to MVP Fitness if they were built in the La Reina building?

MVP is supportive of having apartment homes, and they are committed to remaining in Spanish Springs.