New president sees fascinating future for Viera
Todd Pokrywa, the new president at The Viera Company, says education is essential to the future growth of Viera.
VIERA VOICE Jill Blue
There’s a new president at The Viera Company as Todd Pokrywa has taken the helm of the organization behind the planning and construction of Viera, the master planned community which is rated among the top 15 across the country.
Pokrywa replaces former president Steve Johnson, who had served in the position since 2005, according to the company.
As he begins his tenure, which officially began Sept. 1, Pokrywa sat down with the Viera Voice to discuss a number of topics related to his new position, including what he sees for the future of the community.
That future, apparently, involves a lot of new growth as Pokrywa says the company has “somewhere between 20 and 30 years left of development activity before the community’s built out depending upon the pace of the market.”
He added that they would “continue to develop south and then we will move to the west as well.”
Pokrywa says he defines success in his new position as “continuing to innovate” and “introducing new pieces to the puzzle that enhances our value and vibrancy as a mixed use community.”
One new piece to the puzzle envisioned could be the future addition of what Pokrywa calls the presence of a “post-secondary institution.”
“Education is essential and we have many components with the elementary schools, the charter school filling the near term the middle school gap, the high school but we don’t yet have within the community of Viera, a post-secondary presence,” Pokrywa said. “A lot of our competitor or counterpart master-planned communities do. (We’ve) long wanted to introduce that element and we still do; we have some flexibility as to where we might find the landing spot for that type of use if the right institution is interested but we believe that should be among the next steps that we take with respect to educational offerings in Viera.”
Pokrywa noted that the company is “developing a number of new neighborhoods south of Wickham Road” within the area called Addison Village. Neighborhoods that follow will be part of an area toward the Pineda interchange that will include “mixed uses” and “additional opportunities for a commercial presence” along with a “new entry into Viera toward the south end of the project.”
“We will go from having two points of ingress and egress on the west side of Viera from I-95 to four, effectively doubling the number of access points into the community over the next few years,” Pokrywa said.
Another neighborhood named Bridgewater at the current southern terminus of Lake Andrew Drive, designed to be home to those 55 years of age or older, is “actively underway and open for sales,” Pokrywa said.
Those neighborhoods are just part of the company’s residential development ambitions in the overall community.
“We want to introduce product lines that appeal to everyone along the spectrum from multi-family rental and entry-level housing opportunities all the way
up to multi-million dollar estates and everything in between,” Pokrywa said.
“Job opportunities are also paramount; we’re investing in infrastructure, we’re building the regional roadway network in central Brevard County so we’re laying the framework to allow a corporate headquarters to look at Viera and say ‘that’s where I want to plant my flag.’ ”
To that end, Pokrywa said the possibility for growth could really accelerate when the Interstate 95 interchange at Viera Boulevard is completed next year.
“It provides a great opportunity to create a new mixed-used environment in proximity to USSSA Space Coast Stadium,” Pokrywa said. “We’ve witnessed the increasing demand for hotel room nights, for additional retail and restaurant opportunities so in that vicinity of the new interchange, proximate to Space Coast Stadium is the ideal environment to introduce those uses and do something special. In addition to that, we see prospects for corporate headquarters to relocate in this location which offers better accessibility and visibility than just about anywhere else in the county.”
Pokrywa’s ascension to the position is something of a completion of a full circle, having become familiar with the area while in college after vacationing in the area as a youth.
“I became familiar with what the Dudas were doing and the master plan for Viera in the early 1990s, so I chose Viera for my case study when preparing my thesis,” said Pokrywa, who has a background in urban and regional planning from the University of Waterloo in Canada.
Among the experiences after his graduation, he worked as vice president of planning for a dozen years at Lakewood Ranch, a similar master-planned community located near Sarasota. There, Pokrywa says he spoke with Johnson and Tracy Duda Chapman, who was then the CEO of The Viera Company and those associations eventually led to his arrival in Viera.
“Steve called me, back in the spring of 2014, and he said that in a few years he was going to be moving on to greener pastures and he wanted to know if I was interested in coming over to talk to them about the opportunities with The Viera Company. So for me, it was the chance to become involved with leading the development of this community that I had studied as a student and to come home in a sense because I grew up here spending family vacations throughout my childhood,” Pokrywa said.
To see the Viera Voice’s video of the full interview with Pokrywa, check out VieraVoice.com.