CORAL SPRINGS, FL – Like a relic from another era, the decaying Coral Springs Financial Plaza has loomed over downtown streets for decades, standing in the way of rejuvenating the heart of the city’s business corridor.

That will soon change, city officials said. This summer, the towering building on the southwest side of University Drive and Sample Road is expected to be demolished to give way to a major development project in its spot.

The project, known as Cornerstone, is described on its website as a “sophisticated urban living” complex filled with office space, apartments, restaurants, stores, and possibility a hotel and movie theater, along with two parking garages, city officials said.

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“It’s an awesome project – the beginning of a new vibrancy in the downtown,” Coral Springs Vice Mayor Joy Carter said.

Slowly making its way through the government approval processes, Cornerstone is scheduled to get voted on by Coral Springs City Commission on Feb. 19 – the last of major hurdles to pass in order to get the project constructed. Once approved, the project’s developer, Rod Sheldon of Boca Raton-based PreDevCo, will begin negotiating with future tenants of the property and making arrangements for the Coral Spring Financial Plaza to be razed.

City leaders have long supported Cornerstone and see it as a catalyst for igniting more reconstruction in the corridor.

“For more than 20 years, we’ve been waiting for this,” said Kristi Bartlett, director of economic development for Coral Springs.

Once approved and built, Cornerstone, would be the second of four completed projects at the intersection of University and Sample - the area many consider to be the heart of the downtown.

Next up would be the rebuilding of the northwest corner, which is now an outdated retail plaza, as part of the Village Square project, which too would be a combination of office space, retail, and housing but would be much smaller than the Cornerstone project, Bartlett said. There’s many property owners in the plaza, and the plan is to get them to commit to the project by selling to one main landowner.

Across from Village Square would be the last piece of the intersection’s redevelopment. It’s the northeast corner owned by Publix, which had a store there. There’s no plans in the works for that corner.

Already built is Charter Place, a modern complex on the southeast side that is home to businesses in retail and financial services.  

Carter said, in the perfect world, yet another big property would be part of the area’s redevelopment, the site of the former Coral Springs city hall, just west on Sample from where Village Square would be built. It’s now an empty lot and could be added to Village Square or another project to create a large corporate campus, if a culvert can be built over a canal between the properties. 

A lot of these projects were in the planning stages some 15 years ago, before the Great Recession drove down the real estate market, Carter said. Now, the market is once again ripe for redevelopment.

“If I had a crystal ball, I’d hope that over the next five years, you’d see Cornerstone being completed, Village Square being completed and hopefully additional redevelopment would happen as well,” Bartlett said.

Coral Springs Commissioner Shawn Cerra also supports Cornerstone for its potential to create a regional entertainment destination in the downtown. The project includes 200,000-square-feet of Class A office space, more than 80,000-square-feet of commercial space, and more than 350 apartments, according to initial plans.

“It’s incredibly important to create a vibrant area for our residents in the city, a go-to place to decompress and reconnect with their friends and family,” Cerra said. “This is an opportunity to hit a home run.”