UPDATED: July 19, 2018 8:36 AM — Winter Park investors are proposing to convert a 20-year-old office building just two blocks from central Park Avenue into high-end condomiums, following a successful trend of redeveloping commercial sites into luxury homes near the city's downtown.
Located at 338 W. Morse Blvd., the acre parcel features a two-story, 22,000-square-foot office building built in 1998 by property owner Greenhouse Partnership, Ltd., an investment vehicle for local attorney Michael Maher and family members.
It was built-to-suit at the time entirely for stock brokerage Smith Barney, but when that firm merged in 2009 with Morgan Stanley they moved out. Since then, the owners haven't been able to lease the second floor consistently, per city staff.
They will be seeking the City Commission's approval on July 23 for Conditional Use to convert the office building into five residential condos/townhomes that average about 4,400 square feet of conditioned area.
They also want to build a three-story, 16,000-square-foot building next to it for three more condos, to range from 2,360 to 5,250 square feet in size with attached garages that have second-floor guest quarters.
This would require amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map, as well as Zoning Code changes and rezoning for the property from Office to Commercial.
Financial motivation for repurposing the property is clear.
Two- and three-story condo/townhomes within a few blocks on W. Morse Boulevard are currently being marketed for $1.4 million or more by Phil Kean Real Estate and Premier Sotheby's, with less square footage than what the Greenhouse units propose.
Phil Kean's two phases of New York-inspired brownstones involved taking down a former two-story office building at the corner of Morse and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Dan Bellows, veteran Winter Park developer and friend of the Mahers, is vice president of the general partner behind their land owner entity. Bellows' Sydgan Corporation is serving as developer and general contractor on the project, and manages the office building now.
Maher had previously filed plans back in October 2016 proposing to convert a 16-year-old office building at 665 W. Morse Blvd. into a 120-room boutique hotel with new construction. But city staff said in April the project is on hold for the foreseeable future, due to a lease of that office building to new tenants.