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An image of a proposed mixed-use development for Downtown Winter Garden.
An image of a proposed mixed-use development for Downtown Winter Garden. (City of Winter Garden)

Roughly eight months after Winter Garden put out a request for developers to turn a city-owned downtown parking lot into a multi-story mixed use development, commissioners have a proposal to vote on Thursday.

A group of three partners forming Tremaine Boyd LLC is offering to buy the parcel at 109 S. Boyd St. from the city and build a three-story building with 8,600 square feet of commercial on the first floor, and 22 high-end apartments across 18,820 square feet on the second and third floors. They are planned to be a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units.

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The three partners are John Rinehart with Civitas Consulting Inc., Frank Starkey with People Places LLC and Jim Costello with J&J Building. Rinehart and Costello have roots in Winter Garden.

The city will send out RFPs to develop a building for commercial and residential use downtown on land that is now a parking lot.

The partners are asking for some assistance from the city to make the deal work financially. The proposal is to buy the land for $152,000. In exchange, the city would waive a transportation fee of $174,177 and other fees of about $235,484 as well.

For the project to work on its own without fee concessions from the city, it would need to be taller. However the city wants the development to fit in with the current building heights in the downtown.

Partner Jim Costello said the building would need to be six stories tall to make it financially viable without assistance from the city. The incentives are a trade-off for building the development the city's way, he noted.

Manager Michael Bollhoefer said that having more people living in the downtown core will make it even more successful and safe, and will trigger the area to become even more popular and lively.

If the Commission approves the proposal, Costello said they hope to start construction in the fourth quarter of this year, or the first of 2017.

The partners said that they chose to develop in Winter Garden because they believe in the strong future for the town.

"There is so much buzz about Winter Garden as a primary downtown," Costello said. "We love it and we could have gone anywhere to do a project, but we want to do this project in this town because it is connected to us."

Teresa Burney can be reached at 352-455-1955 or at Teresaburney4@gmail.com. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitterand LinkedIn.

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