Several hundred apartments and a group of retailers would populate the area around Sanford's SunRail station under plans for a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) by an Oviedo software executive turned developer.
Kevin Wydra, who has the blessing of Sanford's mayor, envisions up to 400 mixed-income apartments, accompanied by retailers on each of six outparcels of the 12-acre tract of vacant land he bought two years ago for $1 million.
Wydra would be following the initiatives of developers in cities like Longwood and Lake Mary that have built or are building mixed-use hubs around 12 SunRail stations that extend from DeBary in the north to Orlando's Sand Lake Road in the south.
Sanford is SunRail's second northernmost stop. Wydra said he is in discussions with two national builders that did residential construction at other SunRail stops, as well as a mixed income residential developer.
While there is not a hard-and-fast development standard for TODs, the projects are generally defined as mixed-use residential and commercial areas that are designed to capitalize on nearby public transportation.
The Sanford SunRail stop is on the south side of S.R. 46 (W. 1st Street) between Martin Luther King and West Airport boulevards. Wydra's parcel is directly across the street from the station. The surrounding area includes some residential development and an Anheuser-Busch distribution facility.
Wydra said he remains open to speaking with other multifamily residential developers, as long as they have experience with TODs.
"We're looking for a quality developer who can jump-start the growth of the Transit-Oriented Development in this area," Wydra said.
He estimates that if a contract can be signed in the next two to three months work could start as early as the beginning of next year.
Wydra estimates the multifamily development will cost whoever does the project $30 million for 200 to 400 units on the southern part of the property.
As far as the retail component, Wydra said he is holding off, given retailers' propensity for first knowing population counts before making commitments.
The city's mayor, Jeff Triplett, calls the plan "a great idea."
"This would get people to work, bypassing all the congestion, and the retail side would bring people here to shop," Triplett said.
Sanford has long had a problem bringing in big retailers toward its downtown area because it is bordered by Lake Monroe, which, while a draw itself, blocks population growth.