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Right now, the 1.7-acre lot between Metfield Drive and Town Center Avenue in Viera doesn’t look like much.
The new Pearl of Viera apartments overlook the expanse of grass interspersed with patches of sand. The hum of traffic near Lake Andrew Drive can be heard over the hum of a weeder.
All of that goes away as Ercan Ekinci outlines what will come out of the sand in the coming months. If all goes as planned, Urban Prime, a gourmet market and 300-seat restaurant, could open at the end of March 2023.
“I’ve been talking to the Viera company for a little over two years,” said Ekinci, former executive chef and co-owner of Green Turtle Market in Indian Harbor Beach. He sold his market share and his Grapevine Cafe in January 2020.
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Ekinci worked with Viera Company officials, investors, designers and builders to finalize plans for a restaurant that will feature coastal Florida cuisine, a modern industrial interior and plenty of outdoor seating, as well as as well as a market offering local products, a wine club and takeaway meals. – meals to take away.
“With COVID, the uncertainty, I couldn’t imagine opening a new business right in the middle of the storm,” he said.
Now he is ready to pursue his dream.
Viera officials view Urban Prime as an essential part of downtown Viera, which is being developed west of Lake Andrew Drive across from The Avenue.
“I think he recognized that there was an appetite in Viera for this type of business,” said Scott Miller, senior vice president of sales and community development at The Viera Company. “There was nothing like it in the Central Brevard market.”
Groundbreaking is expected to take place by the end of July, and while a nine-month timeline is ambitious, the project is expected to be completed by the end of March, said Marcus Ingeldsen, group construction manager for MH Williams Construction. , builder of the project.
Hard-to-obtain building components, such as bar joists, mechanical equipment and electrical equipment, were ordered months ago, Ingeldsen said.
Permits have also been obtained, Ekinci said. County officials are expected to give final approval within a week and work can begin.
With hotels, apartments and single-family homes nearby, the area has the right population density to support a project like Urban Prime, Miller said.
While The Avenue has a mix of local and national retailers, Town Center will host local retailers and smaller restaurants.
“Town Center is growing,” said Todd Pokrywa, president of Viera Corporation.
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The development of a park-amphitheater on the edge of the lake should begin during the next calendar year. In addition to hotels and apartments, plans for the area include a business complex, a playground and a dog park.
Eventually, Town Center Avenue will connect Lake Andrew Drive to Stadium Parkway.
“The vision has been for Town Center to be a gathering point for all of Viera,” Miller said.
Urban Prime will be a key part of this.
Ekinci drew on his experience opening Green Turtle in 2000 and playing a major role in its management for 20 years while planning and designing Urban Prime.
The market and restaurant will accommodate around 5,000 residents within walking distance, and others living nearby, with bike racks and golf cart parking as well as more traditional parking. The restaurant will have indoor and outdoor seating, with views of a lake and Duran’s par-3 golf course.
Ekinci is delighted with the location. The Pearl, a 285-unit apartment complex, faces the site. Luna, a six-story apartment building with retail on the ground floor is under construction. The Home 2 Suites by Hilton and the Fairfield Inn & Suites are nearby.
An amphitheater for concerts and events is in the works, and green spaces around the lake will be used for farmers’ markets and art exhibitions.
Ekinci has a creative eye – he’s an accomplished photographer, and some of his dishes are almost too good to eat – and he used that aesthetic sense when planning Urban Prime’s design.
Working with Dave Nagrodsky of DNA Architects and Adrian Chandler of AC Design Concepts, he hopes to evoke an urban feel, yet comfortable and inviting. The decor gives pride of place to wood, tiles, waxed concrete and metal, durable and easy to clean materials. Urban Prime will have high ceilings with exposed ductwork, but there will also be acoustic tiles to control noise.
The restaurant will feature 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor dining space, with fire pits and music outside and widely spaced tables inside for more intimate dining inside.
Plans also call for a craft cocktail bar and a 1,400-bottle wine cellar.
The restaurant will open in the 4,500 square foot retail space, which will include a butcher, wild seafood, deli, sushi, produce, prepared meals, salads and bakery, as well as groceries and an extensive wine section. .
The market will have a pedestrian entrance, providing easy access for nearby residents who want to grab something quick to take home for dinner. Curbside pickup will be available, as will delivery in the immediate area.
“Our neighbors here, whenever they need us, we will be there for them,” Ekinci said.
Ekinci also spent time planning the property’s landscaping, working with landscape architect Ryan Pollack to choose native trees and shrubs.
“All four perimeters will be maintained,” he said, even the dumpsters.
Initial plans call for the hiring of 84 people, including two executive chefs and two sommeliers, one for the restaurant and the market.
Originally from Turkey, Ekinci arrived in Brevard County in 1990. He worked at the Indian River Colony Club while attending St. Cloud’s Culinary School, then partnered in opening the Indian Harbor Market Beach.
“Brevard was small, but I fell in love with it,” he said. “I knew this was going to be my home.”
The Space Coast has been good to him, he said, and he has returned the favor by using local businesses to plan, fund and build Urban Prime. When it opened, it said it would use local produce, meat and seafood whenever possible.
The motto for this new venture will be “Shop, Dine, Gather,” he said.
“We aim to be the community’s destination for fine dining, shopping, casual drinking, social gatherings and a truly unique dining experience,” Ekinci said.
Urban premium will be in downtown Viera at 2435 Metfield Drive, Viera. Hours, at least initially, will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the market; From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the restaurant.
Suzy Fleming Leonard is a business journalist with over three decades of experience. Contact her at [email protected] Find her on Facebook: @SuzyFlemingLeonard or on Instagram: @SuzyLeonard
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