Local CRE investment couple buys historic lakefront home in Winter Park

A local real estate investment and development couple paid $2.75 million on Friday for a historic lakefront home near downtown Winter Park, drawn from the suburbs to live closer to their commercial projects. 

Located on Virginia Drive in Winter Park, the 0.69-acre lot features views of the Rollins College campus across 150 feet of frontage on Lake Virginia. A two-story home with 4,908 square feet of conditioned area was originally built in 1928.

Highlights of the home include four bedrooms, three and a half baths, oak hardwood and tile floors, a formal dining room, Florida room, study/den, two wood-burning fireplaces, and chef's island kitchen with professional-grade appliances, and a 3,000-bottle climate-controlled wine cellar. 

The buyers were Giovanni Fernandez and Elise Sabatino, owners of residential brokerage and property management firm National Real Estate.

In the past year, the couple has drawn local attention for buying up 12 commercial buildings over six acres near the intersection of Curry Ford Road and Bumby Avenue, a neighborhood they've dubbed the "Hourglass District" with plans for an array of new restaurants and shops. The duo also bought close to a full block in the Milk District nearby at Bumby and Robinson Street, with plans to renovate and lease four separate buildings. 

"We used to live in Windermere. A big part of us purchasing this (home) in Winter Park is because we believe in the community around here, and want to contribute to it and watch it grow in a positive direction," Fernandez told GrowthSpotter. "We definitely won't knock down the home completely. Our goal is to embrace this older property ... we definitely want to revive it, and make additions to it." 

Outdoor features include poolside and lakeside vistas, a patio under a large Live Oak tree, expansive back yard and boathouse with power boat lift and rooftop deck. 

Mick Night and John Pinel of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate served as listing agents for the seller. 

"The seller had lived in the home for nearly 50 years, and other than a family room addition they did this is the original home from the late 1920s," Night said. "The character of the home is tremendous and the potential is endless." 

The sellers were John A. and Constance Cox, who previously paid $56,700 in 1970 for the house and property. Now approaching their retirement years, the couple have moved to a smaller and newer home nearby, Night said. 

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