Demetree Global is cementing its presence within Winter Park’s heavily debated Orange Avenue Overlay District.
According to a recently recorded deed, the firm’s WinterPark Station LLC paid a little more than $4.8 million to acquire Lombardi Seafood’s former location at 1152 and 1132 Harmon Avenue.
The acquisition consists of about 2.5 acres of land southeast of the Orlando Avenue and Harmon Avenue intersection, and includes the 13,212-square-foot facility that the seafood restaurant group vacated in 2015.
Today, the space is occupied by a fairly recent tenant called The Heavy. The home decor venue also operates as pop-up venue for local eateries, as well as a gift market and coffee shop. It was created by Jen Crotty, owner of the East End Market’s Porch Therapy.
Demetree’s has long had the site under contract as part of a larger assemblage round the 17-92 and N. Orange Avenue intersection. Records show, the firm has been picking up the properties since 2014, spending more than $21 million in the process.
That calculation does not include the 1.1-acre property that houses the offices for Demetree Real Estate Services at 1350 Orange Avenue. The 23,700-square-foot office building has been in the possession of Demetree Global’s owner and president Mary Demetree and her family members for decades.
Records show an entity partly managed by the late Bill Demetree purchased the property in 1993.
In 2016, GrowthSpotter confirmed Demetree representatives met with Winter Park’s planning and public works departments to discuss potentially redeveloping the area.
A brochure highlighting plans for a mixed-use development called Gateway Garden Station was circulated at a 2018 International Council of Shopping Centers convention, but a spokesperson from the company told GrowthSpotter “the renderings are no longer accurate and therefore no longer relevant and would misrepresent.”
Demetree Global declined to comment further on the story.
They’re one of two main property owners that stand to benefit from the proposed 75-acre OAO District in Winter Park, which went before city commissioners earlier this week. After a nearly 12-hour long discussion, the item was tabled to Thursday.
If imposed, the OAO District would allow Demetree to transfer development rights of commonly-owned properties into a subarea located on the southern end of the district for a maximum of 400 residential units.
At a city commission meeting, Bronce Stephenson, Winter Park’s planning and community development director, displayed images that depict the potential redevelopment of the area.
It showed that at maximum build-out, Demetree could potentially build up to seven-stories in height with 50 percent of their property dedicated to open space.
At a separate public meeting, Michelle Heatherly, director of strategic development for Demetree Global, said that the team would wait for the outcome of the overlay framework before putting a project together.
The city owns three small portions of green space that also surround the 17-92 and N. Orange Avenue intersection.