Vilano Beach Town Center wins state award

Sallie O’Hara reported to Historic City News that the one-of-a-kind Publix grocery store, built within the Vilano Beach Town Center CRA, has received the Florida Main Street Award for Outstanding New Construction.

Accepting the award in Dade City, along with Vilano Town Center Partners, owners and developers Bob Bentz and Joe Lelonek, were Vivian Browning, President of Vilano Beach Main Street and Sallie O’Hara.

“The award from the Florida Main Street Program recognizes the sense of place this beautiful structure adds,” O’Hara told reporters. “Next year, Vilano Beach will be the host location for the 2013 annual Florida Main Street state conference.”

There are more than 40 statewide “Main Street” programs in Florida.

Vilano Beach, the unique setting for the award-winning Publix Grocery, has been redeveloped from a 1920’s plat into a small beach community, based on the Town Center concept.

The vision for this island beach town was created by the community in 1997. The fifteen-year effort to make that vision a reality has been led by Vivian Browning and Sacha Martin, the President of North Shores Improvement Association.

Under the leadership of Browning and Martin, a new streetscape was built, including infrastructure and storm water management. Overlay design guidelines were established and bookend pavilions were built at each end of Vilano Beach Main Street — the Atlantic Ocean and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

Every element was ready for the No. 1 community wish: a Publix Grocery. That dream became reality when Vilano Beach Town Center Partners dedicated the art-deco design building January 12, 2012.

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