Late last year, Orlando-based developer Lakeview Oak wrapped construction on a mixed-use product with ten apartment units and 2,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space at the site of the former San Leon Motel in Sanford’s historic downtown district.
Now, with that space fully occupied, the company is back with a plan for a similar, yet significantly larger project just one block away on property currently used as a city-leased parking lot.
Site plans filed to the city show two four-story brick buildings separated by a courtyard with a total of 9,400 square feet of commercial, retail and restaurant space on the bottom floor and a total of 28 dwelling units on the upper three levels.
Orlando-based JJV Studio has been tabbed to lead the project’s architecture and design.
The property sits at the southwest intersection of Palmetto and 2nd Streets, directly behind Sanford’s historic Ritz Theatre.
Daniel Matthews, the founder of Lakeview Oak, told GrowthSpotter that they are looking to build off the success of its first mixed-use offering in Sanford, the San Leon. That three-story brick building, located at the corner of Sanford Avenue and 2nd Street, is set to open soon with a coffee shop (Foxtail), ice cream shop (Kelly’s Ice Cream), and brewery (Ravenous Pig) on the bottom floor.
The 10 apartment units are already fully leased out, Matthews said. He’s optimistic the newly proposed project, dubbed The Palmetto, will quickly secure tenants as well.
“We are building it as a shell, anything can work in there,” he said. “We expect it will be a popular restaurant location, so we will be building in the infrastructure so a restaurant can go in.”
This type of building “is exactly what Sanford needs,” he added. “I think it will enhance the look of downtown.”
The project is scheduled to go before the city’s Historic Preservation Board on Wednesday where they will determine if it merits a certificate of appropriateness.
The property comprises six parcels totaling less than an acre. An entity affiliated with Lakeview Oak purchased the land in May for $898,000, according to Seminole County property records.
Matthews said the city has for years leased the land to use as a parking lot. That lease expires in late September, he said.
Founded in 2017, Lakeview Oak focuses on creating vibrant mixed-used development opportunities in Florida’s historic small cities, according to the company’s website.
“Our projects offer modern residences and desirable retail, wrapped in a traditional exterior aesthetic to fit seamlessly into the surroundings,” the website says. “Lakeview Oak strives to curate an experience that provides casual sophistication in walkable communities.”
Matthews said that while the company has a few other Sanford projects in the works, it’s also eyeing development opportunities in Winter Haven in Polk County and St. Cloud, Eustis, and Mt. Dora in Lake County.
The San Leon mixed-use project in Sanford was once the site of the Hotel San Leon, which survived the Great Sanford Fire of 1887. The hotel was eventually razed between 1912 and 1917, and the property had been vacant ever since.
The apartments there have a single bedroom and open-feel studio living area. Adjacent to the main building is a single-story structure housing two apartments facing the street.
The apartment mix at the Palmetto is still being worked out, but Matthew said the majority of the units will be one-bedroom.
Site plans show 10 dwelling units on the second floor, 10 on the third floor, and eight on the top floor.
Downtown Sanford, a craft beer lovers’ paradise located along the south shore of Lake Monroe, has a number of development projects on tap.
Sanford-based SunCor Properties is planning to bring a townhome community and a 60-room boutique hotel to side-by-side property near city hall.
The townhome community consists of 32 units with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two-car garages.
The hotel, once complete, would be the only one in downtown Sanford.
The last hotel here was demolished a couple of years ago to make way for a new assisted living facility on Marina Island, which opened in early 2020.
In 2019, an investment group filed plans with the city to renovate Sanford’s historic Mayfair Inn, planning to invest an estimated $30 million to restore and enlarge the 94-year-old building into a 130-room, boutique hotel.
That project is no longer being pursued.
Suncor’s hotel project will be accompanied by a separate annex building intended to hold amenities for hotel guests along with office space and storage. The annex will free up more space inside the main hotel’s lobby for a larger bar area.
The townhome project and the hotel are pending final approval from the city.