Construction just started on a new luxury apartment building in downtown Eustis with an anticipated completion date set for early 2021.
The five-story rental building, called Grove Park Tower, will consist of 20 one-bedroom units. It will be located on the northwest corner of Dewey Street and Magnolia Avenue, just across the Eustis City Memorial Library.
Currently, a majority of the property is a parking lot. Grove Park Tower will rise on the southern half of the lot, while the northern half will be reserved for surface parking.
The development company, North Central Place LLC, is led by business partners Ricky Nelson and Daniel DiVenanzo. Records show the company acquired the 0.8-acre site in 2018 for about $40,000.
DiVenanzo told GrowthSpotter the total project costs are estimated at about $1.9 million. Rents at the development will start at $1,000 up to $1,250 a month.
The company scored $115,000 in financing to help fund the project from United Southern Bank.
DiVenanzo also helped develop a similar three-story building on the southwest corner of McDonald Avenue and Eustis Street. The apartment project was built in 2012.
Economic Development Director Tom Carrino said the downtown area hasn’t seen a new apartment project built since the McDonald building.
He said the city has been helping shape its downtown by working with developers to ensure any new buildings proposed follow the city’s Land Development Guidelines and stay consistent with its downtown redevelopment plans, first put in place around 2008.
“The idea is generate new taxable revenue, and add more economic activity and pedestrian-friendly experiences,” he said. “[The project] is going to bring more residents to downtown Eustis and with new residents come new social and economic activity."
The city has seen its population increase over the years. There are currently 21,368 residents in Eustis, up from 18,558 in 2010 and about 19,250 in 2014, Carrino said.
Grove Park Tower stands out amid several suspended developments that have been postponed but would have boosted the economic activity in Eustis.
After the coronavirus outbreak, the city delayed a referendum vote that included replacing its old community center with a 56,000-square-foot, three-story Eustis Sailing & Conference Center and the Carver Park expansion.
The projects promised a steady flow of visitors and motivated other businesses ventures.
Earlier this year, Mount Dora-based nonprofit Eastern Arts & Humanities Inc. proposed developing a $22 million hotel to serve visitors of the city’s proposed Sailing & Conference Center downtown.
It is unclear if the hotel development is still happening. Carrino said the Eustis City Commission plans to re-visit the community center referendum in 2021.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from the city about the referendum for the Eustis Community Center.