FORT PIERCE — The Indian River State College District Board of Trustees has unanimously accepted a proposal from Audubon Development Inc. to renovate and redevelop the historic IRSC Coast Guard House located at 1420 Seaway Trail in Fort Pierce. The project will have synergies with Audubon’s King’s Landing Development— a mixed-use project in downtown Fort Pierce comprised of a hotel, residential units, shops, restaurants and a parking garage — and provide real-world training opportunities for IRSC students who are studying for careers in the hospitality and culinary industries.
“IRSC is honored to work with Audubon to preserve, improve and restore this historic structure for the citizens of the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee,” states IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore. “Audubon is widely recognized for their work with similar historic structures across the United States. This project will provide tremendous opportunities for our hospitality and culinary students to showcase their talents.”
Audubon plans extensive interior and exterior improvements to the property. The project calls for renovating and operating the existing 4,926 square-foot structure and surrounding parcel in a manner that preserves its historical integrity and furthers the missions of IRSC and the IRSC Foundation.
“The Coast Guard House is an iconic structure, and we are honored to be chosen as the development partner to renovate and repurpose her to a more regal setting,” said Dale Matteson, president and CEO of Audubon Development Inc. “Going forward, we will identify the project as the ‘Historic Coast Guard House.’”
Construction costs are projected to exceed $2 million. Reactivation of dock space is also planned; Audubon expects to operate a water taxi to transport guests back and forth from King’s Landing. Further, the Historic Coast Guard House will serve as a wedding venue, meeting and event space and a boutique bed and breakfast. Audubon will bear the total cost of renovating the facility.
The former Coast Guard Barracks site was deeded to the IRSC District Board of Trustees from the United States on May 13, 1977. The Board of Trustees closed the building for disrepairs in 2021. In late 2022, Audubon Development Inc. expressed their interest in redeveloping the waterfront property by submitting an unsolicited developer proposal to design, build, finance, maintain, and operate the IRSC Coast Guard House.
The agreement with IRSC also proposes a “Kids are Cooking” restaurant at King’s Landing, 1,200 square feet of retail space for the IRSC Culinary program, and a hospitality job bank for IRSC students, connecting them with opportunities at the Marriott Hotel and other King’s Landing restaurants.
“We are delighted to join with Audubon Development to revive this critical asset, make it a showpiece for our community and create new, unique learning environments for our students,” concludes Moore.