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Florida Hospital Waterman plans for development around its campus

Florida Hospital Waterman seeks approval for a new master plan for its land bank.
Florida Hospital Waterman seeks approval for a new master plan for its land bank. (Florida Hospital Waterman)

Over the years, Florida Hospital Waterman has steadily added land to its original 111.56-acre campus on Burleigh Boulevard in Tavares until it has almost surrounded itself with purchases of vacant commercial land, adding another 42-plus acres to its holdings.

In 2008, it spent $3.87 million for two parcels of vacant commercial property totaling 24.64 acres. In March 2010, it bought another 13.03 acres for $500,000, and a 4.59-acre parcel for $890,000 in November, according to Lake County Property Appraiser records. Those, too, were vacant commercially zoned parcels. So the total of the Waterman site's developable land is 133.07 acres, plus another undevelopable 22.04 acres.

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Recently, the hospital decided it needed to tidy up its master plan to integrate the new acquisitions and make plans for what it might do with its accumulated land bank. That plan is working its way through the City of Tavares toward adoption.

"Essentially this is just an update to our development plan," said Steven Jenkins, director of marketing and communications for the hospital.

The hospital's new proposed master plan would create a medical/health care oriented development anchored by the hospital with an outer loop that would allow typical healthcare related businesses, such as medical offices and nursing/assisted living homes and hospice.

But the plan leaves a door open to mixed-use development that has less to do with medical needs, including daycare, churches, colleges, private schools, retail and multi-family apartments.

While areas 1-B and 1-A on the plan includes the existing hospital area, areas 2-A and 2-B are designated as mixed use.

2-A potential uses include nursing home, assisted living facility, senior housing, multi-family housing, medical and professional offices, community college, transplant house, bed and breakfast hotel, church, private school, personal service retail, restaurant, convenience store, community center, open space/recreation, park and private dock/pavilion.

The Mixed Use 2-B area permitted uses would be: multi-family housing, townhomes, medical and professional offices, hospice center, personal service retail of less than 10,000 square feet, health and fitness uses, open space/recreation, park, private dock/pavilion, and other mixed uses not prohibited.

While the plan calls for mixed-use development, there are some uses that won't be allowed at all: Adult entertainment, body art shops, palm reading, temporary labor facilities, fast food restaurant, and retail single-use more than 50,000 square feet.

For now, the hospital says it doesn't have any immediate development plans. If the master plan is approved, hospital administrators have some time to figure out what they want to do with the land, as the plan would expire after 30 years.

Teresa Burney can be reached at 352-455-1955 or at Teresaburney4@gmail.com. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitterand LinkedIn.

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