The city’s former post office, which served a steadily growing community for nearly six decades, has been acquired by a local family business and will be spruced up for a new downtown commercial tenant.
Nov Brothers Holding LLC, a family business affiliated with Novillo Family Farms of Mount Dora, bought the 6,000-square-foot property in August from the Barchester Corp., led by brothers Joe and John Seravalli of Daytona Beach.
The sale price for the building at 711 N. Donnelly St. was $900,000. Barchester had acquired the site in 2015 for $848,000.
“If the Post Office had stayed, we would have kept the property, but when we get a vacancy, we usually try to determine if it’s best to sell or re-let, and we decided in that case to sell,” Joe Seravalli told GrowthSpotter.
The U.S. Postal Service announced in September 2017 that it decided to relocate from the overcrowded 1961 building “to a new space that suits the current requirements of the Postal Service and the community.”
The post office has since moved to a building about two miles away at 2600 Old U.S. Highway 441, still within city limits. Postal officials said there would be no change in home or business delivery service with the move. The former Rodeo country-western bar saw extensive renovation and opened as the new post office on July 8.
The city had been interested in leasing the post office site, but backed out. With parking at a premium in downtown Mount Dora, the roughly two-dozen parking slots on the Donnelly property were typically reserved for mail trucks.
Walter Novello, speaking on behalf of Nov Brothers, said the group is “doing renovations and remodeling the exterior to just kind of spruce it up, to keep an outdoor feel, and the inside’s going to be built-to-suit for hopefully what (we) would consider a quality tenant.”
The family is currently involved in a couple of central Florida businesses: Resorts Nationwide Inc. in Mount Dora, which is in timeshare and rental marketing, and Rapid Solutions Team, a telemarketing office in Clermont.
“The goal is to open in the next 90 days, to make it look really nice,” Novello told GrowthSpotter. “The city’s been really helpful and willing to work with us on what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The Donnelly Street deal mirrors a similar transaction that took place in downtown Orlando. Two local doctors recently acquired a post office building there with plans to redevelop it after the postal lease expires in 2020.
Like the Mount Dora facility, the Orlando site had been open for six decades serving neighborhoods and businesses on the east end of downtown.
This wouldn’t be the first time a post office in Mount Dora was repurposed for commercial use. The Mediterranean Revival-styled building at 430 N. Alexander St., which served as a post office before Donnelly, now hosts Segway Tours of Central Florida. It was the first building in Mount Dora to receive a marker from the city’s Historic Preservation Board.