National multifamily developer The Richman Group is discussing building two apartment projects in downtown Eustis on non-adjacent lots, a lead official with the city told GrowthSpotter.
The discussion is preliminary at this point, said development services director Lori Barnes, who added a key point is a request by the developer for the city to waive a requirement to have only commercial space on its first floor. No residential uses are currently allowed in the downtown core.
The second parcel under discussion is in downtown, but outside of the core area, said Barnes, and doesn't require a variance to allow living space on the ground floor.
Richman spokeswoman Ana Marquez declined to comment Wednesday on the developer's talks with the city.
The parcels are owned by Lake Eustis Properties LLC, an entity of the Lake Community Foundation, which Florida Hospital Waterman Hospital created to hold land, some of which was part of the hospital before it moved out of Downtown Eustis.
In early 2016, the City of Eustis and the Lake Community Foundation created a two-year partnership agreement to jointly market three downtown parcels, including one now being considered for apartments by Richman.
The first site in discussion is a parking lot with 1.59 acres at the southwest corner of W. McDonald Avenue and N. Bay Street. The preliminary proposal calls for 64 units in a three-story building, with a mix of one-bedroom and two-bed units, per a conceptual site plan shared with the city.
The second site lies further north, 1.8 acres sandwiched between Eustis and Grove streets north of Hazzard Avenue, for a potential 72 apartments across three stories, again split between one- and two-bedroom units.
In the last few years, Eustis' slim supply of downtown rental units has been fully leased as millennials flocked to the walkable lakefront town, which boasts beautiful sunsets, retail and several restaurants.