Haines City’s plans for a city hall annex no longer include retail, will possibly be designed to enable the addition of more floors in the future and include a verbal agreement with Feltrim Group CEO Garrett Kenny for a parking garage and downtown development.
Feltrim and Haines City have had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place since August 2020 that is on its fourth amendment. In addition, the city and Feltrim are in talks for the purchase of several city-owned buildings the developer will turn into apartments and retail space, Development Services Director Richard Greenwood told GrowthSpotter. The initial MOU priced the land to Feltrim at $800,000 with an agreement the city would pay for the parking garage.
Commissioners agreed to the City Hall annex concept plan with some changes during a workshop on June 16. As presented by Greenwood, the annex to be created out of three buildings purchased by the city, would have had three enclosed floors with a rooftop terrace for employees and for events. The first floor, initially proposed for a restaurant and retail stores, was updated to be office space so as not to compete with Kenny’s plans for the buildings he will purchase.
Most of the commissioners felt that the rooftop event space was unnecessary since the city has other locations and has grown out of its offices. They told Greenwood to change the plans to make it four full floors of all city offices. The annex will be used for the city’s building department, development services, Community Redevelopment Agency, IT and space for a needed full-time city engineer, Greenwood said.
“We need to invest in a building for office space,” Mayor Anne Huffman said at the meeting.
With the 54 development projects in the works for 16,791 residential units (some already completed) in Haines City, the population is expected to more than double to 80,465 residents from 29,087, Greenwood told the commission. And that’s without any new projects being added, he said. In 2021, 1,508 building permits were issued. “This year, we’re on track to exceed that number.”
“I think it would be adequate for 20 years,” Greenwood said of the annex. Commissioners instructed Greenwood to discuss with project architect Straughn Trout of Lakeland the feasibility of constructing the project so that more floors could be added later. After the demolition of four city buildings on 7th and Main streets by Johnson’s Excavation & Services – at a cost of $132,743 – the development projects are expected to take 18-24 months, Greenwood told GrowthSpotter.
The annex is to be named for former mayor and city attorney Andrew Reilley who died in January. It will be connected by a walkway to a parking garage that commissioners agreed to increase to four floors and 190 spaces instead of the initially proposed three and 145 spaces.
Feltrim’s residential and retail developments will have access to the parking garage as well, Greenwood said. The two buildings – one on 7th Street and one on 8th Street – will be apartments that Feltrim will own and manage. Feltrim will maintain the parking garage though it will be owned by Haines City. City employees will have free parking in the garage and each apartment will have one parking space, Greenwood said.
The 7th Street building is proposed for mixed-use with 48 apartments on three floors with the first floor dedicated to 10,700 square feet of retail, including a microbrewery and restaurant. The 8th Street building will consist of 27 apartments with surface parking.
Kenny could not be reached for comment.