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Winter Garden starting to close office space deficit

Sonata is proposing to build an assisted living facility next to its Memory Care facility in Winter Garden.
Sonata is proposing to build an assisted living facility next to its Memory Care facility in Winter Garden.

Companies have been calling Winter Garden looking to relocate, but with a 98 percent office occupancy rate, the city doesn't have many places for them to go, says Tanja Gerhartz, its economic development director.

But now the town is starting to catch up with several projects in the works.

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Fueled by the Florida Hospital Health Campus scheduled to open this year, Sonata has submitted plans to build a $3 million, 20,000-square-foot medical office complex and a 131,000-square-foot assisted living facility at 720 Roper Rd., just a mile away from the new hospital location and next door to their successful Memory Center called Serenade.

"Serenade has been at 100 percent occupancy for the last 18 months," said Stuart Beebe, Sonata's CEO. "We think there is a need for independent living units as well."

Sonata is seeking approval from the city of Winter Garden to build a $32 million assisted living facility on the parcel. The office parcel already has approval for a medical office building. The synergy of having it next door to Sonata's other operations will create a campus atmosphere, he said.

Sonata has not decided whether to use private financing or tap into REIT capital for the project, Beebe said.

Another set of plans in Winter Garden City Hall is by Daniels Professional Park LLC for an 11,200-square-foot medical office in a new center called Daniels Road Medical Center at 423 Daniels Road. The site plan for the project has been approved by DRC, and is expected to go before the Planning & Zoning Board next month for approval. The applicants for that development did not return telephone calls for additional information.

Downtown Winter Garden also could get some new office space. Jared Czachorowski, part of the team that turned a dilapidated apartment complex into Plant Street Market in downtown has submitted plans to build a 20,000-square-foot mixed use development at 360 W. Plant St., between Winter Garden's City Hall and the Plant Street Market.  The two stories upstairs would be office space and the ground floor would be dedicated to restaurant use.

tburney@growthspotter.com or 407-420 6261

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