For the Indian River Shopping Center, we first heard from the code enforcement group. Based on citizen complaints, they have cited the property with several violations. The property's broker, The Katsias Company, is in contact with the city and has until April 27th to correct the cited issues. The bigger issue of actually getting new tenants into the complex was addressed by the City's Economic Development Director Steven Wright. He reported that the city has approached several grocers and that Katsias is currently in negotiated with a - not named - mid-level grocer for the property; but the grocer is asking for significant improvements. The City is not contributing any monetary incentives.
Mr. Wright elaborated that when retailers look at the shopping center, they look heavily at demographics. The retailer’s preference is to put new stores in growing suburbs seeing future construction of more homes and with young families - families with growing shopping lists. That puts built-out neighborhoods like ours at a disadvantage in the race for retailers since we're not seen as a growth area. The challenging question - and one for which Mr. Wright and the other city representatives did not provide an answer - was what can we, the community, do to make our neighborhood more attractive to retailers. That’s something we should all consider and discuss at upcoming meetings of the Friends of Indian River.