Highlighted in blue are the parcels totaling 1.5 acres in Downtown Winter Garden, at the corner of W. Plant Street and S. Park Avenue, where 24 townhomes are planned.
Highlighted in blue are the parcels totaling 1.5 acres in Downtown Winter Garden, at the corner of W. Plant Street and S. Park Avenue, where 24 townhomes are planned. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

In another step toward making Downtown Winter Garden a place where people can live, work and play, the City Commission recently gave its initial stamp of approval for a downtown townhome development at the southeast corner of West Plant Street and South Park Avenue.

F&J Developers LLC received first reading approval to rezone 1.5 acres across four parcels from Commercial to a Planned Use, and build 24 townhomes across five new buildings at a prominent gateway to downtown.

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The units, dubbed Park & Plant Townhomes, would range in size from 1,600 to 2,400 square feet, with two-car garages accessed via an interior courtyard. The buildings will vary in height from two to three stories, with overall height reaching about 35 feet, per the plans.

The units facing W. Plant Street are designed to convert into live/work commercial units if future owners choose to do so.

Winter Garden to vote on downtown mixed-use plan for city parking lot

Details on who makes up the development group, what fee waivers they seek and why Winter Garden is inclined to close the deal.

'We are excited about the project," said City Manager Michael Bollhoefer, who highlighted the path to rezoning was a long time coming.

It was stalled during the recession and at one time had a commercial zoning, but after downtown began to flourish, the developer and the city agreed residential townhomes could work at that spot, in front of the Crooked Can Brewery.

City planners are hoping that more residences will help Winter Garden develop more of a 24-hour presence in downtown.

The city-developer partnership was key to getting the project off the ground. The city offered its downtown designer, Michael Morrissey, to help fine-tune the architecture to match Winter Garden's existing downtown, Bollhoefer said.

F&J is the developer of the 28-unit The Brownstones at Thornton Park in Downtown Orlando, on which construction was completed in recent months. Partners with the company did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

The Winter Garden City Commission also recently approved another downtown development with proposed apartments.

Three partners of  Tremaine Boyd LLC are planning to build a three-story mixed-use building, with 8,600 square feet of commercial on the first floor and 22 high-end apartments across 18,200 square feet on the second and third floors. The plan is a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units.

The three partners in that development 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.

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

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