Lake County's City of Groveland will look to a new leader of its Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to help change the face of downtown by drawing in new real estate development interest.
The city announced on Monday the hiring of Dan Murphy, an international economic development specialist with bilingual marketing experience, as its new CRA manager and economic development project manager.
Murphy will manager Groveland's 1,000-acre CRA district, which includes all of its historic downtown and runs primarily along S.R. 50, from east of Green Valley Boulevard to the city's western border. He will be responsible for physical improvements in the CRA area and for driving economic development.
"I've been here on duty for about 10 days, and found the CRA in great financial shape," Murphy told GrowthSpotter on Monday. "It was created in 2002 and has accumulated funding for some major capital projects that have been delayed, so the funding is still in the pipeline."
Groveland has an established Visioning Plan and Redevelopment Master Plan for its downtown. Plans also appear established by the Florida Department of Transportation to bypass the city's oldest downtown segment by rerouting S.R. 50.
"That is all through the PD&E stage so it's at the point of acquiring property and doing the construction," he said. "That will change the face of downtown Groveland, once it's complete in maybe three to five years. It will open up all the property downtown for redevelopment."
The city has acquired a variety of properties in recent years and is in a "strong position to offer incentives to developers interested in our downtown area," Murphy said. "We're one of the fastest growing cities in the county and state, with population growth at more than 10 percent per year. We're now in a race to bring the city's commercial redevelopment up to speed with the (new housing)."
Among the "Opportunity Sites" in Groveland that Murphy hopes to draw developer attention to include the "Cortese Corners," which spans 9.4 acres at the southwest corner of the intersection of S.R. 33 and the proposed realignment of S.R. 50.
Another opportunity lies at the 10.6-acre "Crittenden Crossing" site, on the intersection of S.R. 50 and S.R. 19, much of which is owned by the city.
A third is the 37.6-acre "Carabao Commons," also at the S.R. 50 and S.R. 19 intersection, considered a potential new gateway into downtown Groveland. It includes a historic train depot building, and is being promoted for mixed-use redevelopment.
And a fourth is the 67.9-acre "Groveland Gateway," owned by the Charles E. Bradshaw family and considered the city's commercial front door with frontage on S.R. 50 and S.R. 33.
Murphy held a similar position since 2013 in the city of Dania Beach, and prior to that was the executive director of the Lake Okeechobee Regional Economic Alliance and Highlands County Economic Development Administration.
Early in his career, Murphy was vice president of global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller in New York City, and previously founded marketing and public relations agencies in Mexico and Argentina.