The City of Clermont is seeking a developer to purchase and revamp two city-owned parcels on a hard corner in its downtown waterfront area, and restaurant operators to take vacant space in the area.
Clermont is requesting Letters of Interest from commercial developers with at least five years of experience for the two adjacent properties, which total 61,740 square feet and lie at the southeast corner of W. Minneola Avenue and 8th Street.
No documented sales history exists for the two parcels, which were appraised at $710,000 and have been owned by the city since 1970, according to county propery appraiser records.
Contenders should aim for high-end design and materials. The city is seeking a mixture of uses, such as ground floor shops and restaurants below multi-story residential, said Shannon Schmidt, Clermont's director of economic development and community redevelopment agency.
"This hard corner provides us an opportunity to activate commercial, mixed-use and retail space we desperately need," Schmidt told GrowthSpotter. "We have a waiting list of folks wanting to be in downtown, such as restaurants like Yellow Dog Eats, and a number of existing restaurant operators in Winter Garden."
Additionally, the city is seeking LOIs from qualified restaurant operators for purchase or ground lease of 77,537 square feet of vacant waterfront property.
Clermont's stipulations include familiarity with the Downtown Waterfront master plan, which aims to transform the area into a walkable, popular urban core.
The master plan calls for development of office, retail, residential and entertainment to accommodate the needs of local businesses, visitors and residents — a demand unmet by current inventory.
The city wants a development up and running by 2020, Schmidt said.
The land currently serves as the Eighth Street Trailhead for the 5.2-mile paved Clermont/Minneola Trail with parking for 30 cars. That will be repositioned a block north along the waters of Lake Minneola, close to restaurant Lilly's on the Lake at 8th and Osceola streets.
Clermont is the halfway point of the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail, a $50 million, 250-mile effort to fill the gaps in existing trails, creating a contiguous trail system connecting Titusville to St. Petersburg underway by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Greenways and Trails, expected to be complete in 2020.
The new trailhead revamp will include tech-based kiosks, seating and selfie opportunities, Schmidt said.
"It's an opportunity to celebrate the city's position as the mid-point of the Coast-to-Coast Trail," she added.
Submissions for the LOIs must be received by Aug. 20 at 5 p.m. Schmidt said Planning and Zoning staff will make a recommendation on a developer at the city's Sept. 11 council meeting.