A Texan from that state's hill country has bought a property in Lake County's hill country to add on to his growing list of event venues around the south.
Larry Kruzie, owner of Texas Old Town, bought 22.7 acres and a three-bedroom house at 20524 County Road 455, a designated scenic highway in Lake County with some views of Lake Apopka.
A trail and footbridge over a recirculating stream will lead guests to a new 450-square-foot wedding chapel, according to the site plan filed by Germana Engineering.
Kruzie said he plans to expand the house by 6,000 square feet to include separate dressing rooms for brides and grooms, a food prep area, more restrooms, an elevator, and a ballroom inside where weddings can be performed if the outside venue gets rained out. He plans a grand stairway from the Bride's dressing room. He also plans a parking lot to accommodate 121 vehicles.
Kruzie bought the property in early 2017 for $850,000, and he is in the process of getting all the permits. He annexed the property into Minneola and is working with the St. Johns River Water Management District to complete permitting required for that agency as well.
Kruzie is branching out from his Texas venues and is looking in Atlanta and Florida for suitable locations. He said he has 24 venues now and three more on the way. He is looking for 10 to 12 more. Usually he finds properties by scouting out an area and calling a Realtor. The Lake County venue, however, he found when he spotted a big "for sale" sign as he drove through the area.
The property is adjacent to the Green Mountain Scenic Overlook and trailhead, which opened in 2014 and includes a 130-foot elevated boardwalk leading to a 20x20 foot overlook offering exceptional views of Lake Apopka and the Orlando skyline. The facility also boasts a covered pavilion with picnic tables, restrooms, and a switchback trail from the parking area to the railroad bed.