Apopka City Council members just unanimously rejected two bids submitted in response to a solicitation to purchase some of its surplus land near the city center.
The 8.1-acre property on the southeast corner of N. Park Avenue and E. Sandpiper Street was appraised at about $1.26 million earlier this summer by Maitland-based Danny Dulgar and Associates, but neither of the two bids met that value.
The highest bid, of $851,000, was submitted by Maitland-based Terminus Realty LLC, led by real estate sales associate Jared Ettinger. It’s unclear what the company intended to do with the property. All that was submitted to the city was a letter of intent to purchase the property. An attempt to reach Ettinger was unsuccessful.
Apopka residents Rohitas and Manju Agarwal submitted the only other bid, and offered to buy the property for $800,000. At the city council meeting, Wednesday, Manju Agarwal said the couple still intends to put another offer that would closely match the appraised value, and plans to build medical office space.
Abraham Bidhendi, a real estate broker with Orlando-based Realty Hub, represented the Agarwals. Neither the Agarwals or Bidhendi were able to be reached for the story.
The property at 751 N. Park Ave. lies just a mile-and-a-half north of Apopka’s city hall.
At the meeting, city council members said they hoped to receive higher bids for the property, due to its commercial zoning and location near a growing city center, two schools (Dream Lake Elementary and Apopka Middle), and residential subdivisions. A number of churches and hospitals are also located around the area.
Apopka community development director, James Hitt said the land’s commercial zoning allows for a number of different uses including retail and office development, but admitted the low bids could be a result of the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If accepted, the highest bid would have been a nearly 33% discount off the appraised value. If council members still wish to let go of the property, then city staff must determine a new process to sell it.
Over the past several years, northwest Orange County has grown significantly in terms of population. As a result, different developers are proposing new commercial and residential projects in the area.
Nearby, in Apopka, an investment group led by Brazilian-American developers Melissa Beatriz Cruz, Dario Barros and Argel Verdi Seben, are planning an 11,000-square-foot office building on the northeast corner of South Lake Avenue and West Third Street.
And Taurus Investment Holdings is planning 35-acre mixed-use project called Apopka City Center that’s poised to feature up to 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space on the north and south sides of the East Semoran Boulevard (S.R. 436) and West Orange Blossom Trail (S.R. 441) interchange.
A 110-room Hilton Garden Inn opened in late July as part of plans for the Apopka City Center. The developer also intends to build a 250-unit apartment complex.