A Mainstay affiliate bought the 4.4-acre site at 1630 NW 6th St., across from Spring Lake in Winter Haven, in 2015 for $845,000. The land is currently home to the 22-room Banyan Beach Motel, a 29-lot mobile home park and manager's residence.
Garrard wants to redevelop the entire site to accommodate two new four-story buildings, for a total of 152 ALF beds with associated amenities.
Garrard won approval Monday night on a 5-3 vote from the Winter Haven Planning Commission to rezone the front half of the property to R5 (High-Density Residential), which consolidates the zoning into a single category and eliminates the potential for other types of commercial development.
Winter Haven's planning staff supported the application.
"We definitely have a need for more assisted living," Senior Planner Sean Byers told GrowthSpotter. "We've had quite a few come and go through permitting, but for some reason or another they don't get built."
Mainstay has a strong track record in Polk County, having purchased and renovated one ALF and converting a hotel into an upscale ALF and memory care facility -- all operating under its Grace Manor brand. The company also has locations in Daytona Beach and Plant City.
"Maybe this will be the one that actually gets built," Byers said.
Byers said the applicant did not attend Monday's meeting, which had been rescheduled due to Tuesday's special election. Based on the site plan, he surmised that the facility could be focused on memory care.