Real estate broker and developer Nick Jones told GrowthSpotter the restaurant, famous for its burritos and assorted hot sauces, had signed a lease for the former surf shop building at 6113 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy. But the lease is contingent on Jones painting and renovating the 5,289-square-foot building, which is located across from Celebration and in front of Vacation Village timeshare resort.
The development authority approved a $30,000 facade improvement grant on Sept. 1 for the building. The grant program provides a dollar-for-dollar match for property owners for exterior improvements, such as painting, window and door replacement, awnings and landscaping.
Jones said his company would invest more than the required match to complete the renovation and convert the building into three separate retail spaces.
Jones bought the property in May for $1.38 million through his family's commercial real estate business, Red Bell Partners. The store is the company's third investment property in the Orlando market.
Jones said the new design would be oriented westward, facing the Nike Factory Store that shares the parking lot.
"There's really no storefront, so we're putting in a storefront," he said. "The building is old and tired, and it needs a lot of updates."
Tijuana Flats has one Kissimmee location in Poinciana, and one in St. Cloud. T-Mobile has also signed a lease for space in Jones' building, which leaves 1,400 square feet available for another retail or restaurant user.
The facade improvement program is one of three grants currently available to property owners within the W192 redevelopment district. The agency's "Renew192" campaign also offers up to $75,000 in matching funds for demolition of blighted properties; and it has a third grant that pays 100 percent of the cost (up to $75,000) to remove pole signs and replace them with the agency's approved monument sign.
The development authority board agreed to extend the sign grant program, which launched in January, through the end of FY2017. The sign grants will be available in FY2018 at 50 percent funding and in FY2019 at 25 percent funding.
The agency has approved more than $2 million in grants so far this year, including more than 90 sign grants.
Jones said the facade grant program is one reason he's "bullish" on W192. "I think the municipality is very focused on promoting growth, and the community has grasped that," he said.