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Winter Garden is interested in finding a developer for a downtown parking lot in red.
Winter Garden is interested in finding a developer for a downtown parking lot in red. (City of Winter Garden.)
The City of Winter Garden is looking for a good developer to transform a downtown parking lot into a multi-story, mixed use development.

On Thursday the City Commission voted to send out a request for proposals from qualified developers to buy and develop a parking lot at 109 S. Boyd St. The parking spaces won't be needed after it builds a new parking garage next year.

Caution to potential applicants, the city has very specific requirements about everything, from what materials are used in its construction to the landscaping.

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Architecture is important to Winter Garden. The design is expected to be excellent, the materials superior, and it should blend in with its neighbors, including the city-owned Historic Fire Station that is an art venue and the new parking garage. Its proposal includes a rendering of a design that would fit into the neighborhood as an example.

The building should be built to support commercial and upper-story residential uses and must be at least two floors and no more than three.

Whatever is built on the spot is expected to have outdoor spaces including things like street furnishings, café seating, art, water feature, landscape structures and lighting. There should be street trees for shade.

The city is willing to be negotiable on the price of the land as well as impact fees and utilities.

And, if your plan needs a bit more space, there's a small area adjacent to the lot that the city is willing to include as well.

The city also wants to make sure that any developer buying the land is financially able to complete the project.  It is requiring descriptions of how much money is available and where the money its coming from with costs delineated. It also wants a timeline for the major milestones in the development from start to finish.

It also wants to see your team's resumes to assess experience.

Presentations will be scored in four categories:

--Overall qualifications and experience of the project team, including past performance (15 percent)

--The quality and comprehensiveness and innovation of the proposed development (30%).

-- The anticipated value of the development to the city, including financial benefits, job creation potential, adding new residents, shops and other benefits. (30%)

--Financial viability: Developer and project team's ability to fulfill the commitments in the proposal, including the company's financial and development obligations. (25%)

RFP documents can be found at www.wintergarden-fl.gov. Select “business” at the top of the home page, then Bids and Contracts” on the left-hand side.

Applications are due by 2 p.m. Monday, February 15, 2016.

Oh, and it's not a good idea to try to politic your way into the deal. Anybody who contacts any city staff person or elected officials other than those listed in the request for proposals will be eliminated from participation.

Kelly Carson of the planning and zoning department is the point person at 407-656-411 and at kcarson@wintergarden-fl.gov

RFP: 15-103
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