SEBRING — The City Council gave its preliminary approval for a density increase for a proposed “apartment community” with up to 275 units at the corner of the Sebring Parkway and Scenic Highway.

The project cost will be around $27 million and it will be valued at $55 million on completion, a development group informed the City of Sebring in its zoning request.

Mike Chapman, president of Chapman’s Construction, told the City Council recently that he and the BSD Group are looking at feasibility of the project to increase the density so it is financially feasible.

“We are trying to do a community, more so than just an apartment complex,” he said. “We are proposing to put in a dog walk park, a pool, basketball court, tennis courts, fitness center, more of an entire community feel instead of just straight apartments.”

They are doing a modern design with very attractive units and they are asking council if it would look favorably on the project as Sebring in is need of housing, Chapman said.

Mayor John Shoop said there is a real need in the community for an apartment project like this and the density increase would likely be needed wherever it would be built.

All the council members spoke in favor of giving the project conceptual approval.

The meeting agenda noted, there is currently an old development agreement on the proposed parcel which permits nine units per acre with a height maximum of two stories. There is a request for conceptual approval to rezone from R-3 (residential) to PD (planned development) with a density increase to 18 units per acre and a height maximum of three stories.

The PD zoning district is voluntary and allows flexible design, including the location of open spaces, building location and sizing, landscaping, so council could recommend changes to lessen the impact of an increase in both density and height.

A letter from Reuven Deutsch of the BSD Group, Brooklyn, N.Y., to City Administrator Scott Noethlich outlined plans for the apartment development.

“We are in the process of purchasing this property to develop an aesthetically pleasing, state of the art apartment community,” he stated. Their research shows there is a need for mid-economic rental housing in Sebring.

The zoning change they are requesting would allow up to 275 units on 15.29 acres, Deutsch noted.

The agenda noted if the BSD Group purchases the real property and wishes to move forward with this project, it will need to apply for the zoning and comprehensive plan changes, which will provide for public hearings and public input.

The proposed location is across the street (Scenic Highway) from where the new Bernie Little Distributors building is under construction.

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