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Winter Park preps rezoning to aid sale of downtown Blake Yard site

Winter Park preps rezoning to aid sale of downtown Blake Yard site
Highlighted in blue is the 0.45-acre parcel at 301 W. Comstock Ave., two blocks south of W. New England Avenue. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

Winter Park will pursue a final key step next week to position a 0.45-acre public property in its downtown for sale and development into townhomes.

Located at 301 W. Comstock Ave., one and a half blocks from Park Avenue, the property is surrounded by residential. Formerly known as the Blake Yard site, it used to house electric utilities equipment until new David Weekley townhomes started being built around it, prompting the city to relocate its storage yard.

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City commissioners gave the order in late June to issue a Notice of Disposal (NOD) to sell the property. Before doing that, it requires rezoning.

City staff are now recommending a change to the Comprehensive Plan future land use designation on the property from Institutional to Low Density Residential, and a change of the zoning from Public, Quasi Public (PQP) to Low Density Residential (R-2).

The request will go before the Planning and Zoning Board on Nov. 1, with a decision to follow likely on Nov. 28 by city commissioners.

Future development must be compatible with the townhomes and single family homes next door, which prompted the R-2 zoning choice.

Based on the parcel size of 19,125 square feet and maximum densities allowed in R-2 zoning, a developer could build up to four townhomes with up to 10,518 square feet of total floor space.

The city will advertise the property through a NOD process, and use its broker CBRE to market it. Based on a review of the offers and development proposals, city commissioners could choose a bid that considers more than just the highest price.

The property is close to Winter Park's downtown, but also borders the train tracks. Winter Park has approved a quiet zone for the railroad and has the funding budgeted, but will require two years to get the city's 17 lane crossings with train tracks reconfigured, before a quiet zone can be implemented.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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