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Owner of Britt Mansion in Winter Garden wants to build a commercial center around the historic building

Joe Ort, developer and attorney at the Ort Law Firm, is proposing to build a commercial center around the old Britt Mansion in Winter Garden.

According to a recently filed Development Review Committee application, Ort is looking to introduce a mix of office, retail and general commercial space around Britt Mansion Park, with construction scheduled to start by the end of the year.

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Plans call for 45,300 square feet of new commercial development on the 5.18-acre Britt Mansion property formerly owned by citrus-and-vegetable baron Morgan C. Britt. The 5,290-square-foot brick mansion at 1305 E. Plant St. was built in 1929, along with two cottage-style buildings toward the back of the property.

Ort wants to build a 6,400-square-foot, single-story building and a two-story, 19,000-square-foot commercial building along Plant Street and an 11,500-square-foot, two-story building along East Crown Point Road.

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“The project goal is to preserve the character of the property, which is currently improved with a 100-year old building, along with oak trees equally as old,” Ort said. “The site has been designed to preserve the oak trees, along with preserving the historic building at its center. The interior buildings will be designed with large windows, designed to bring the outdoors in. The perimeter buildings will be Class A retail and office buildings.”

The so-called “perimeter buildings” will take up 36,900 square feet, while a mix of 700-square-foot and 1,400-square-foot “interior buildings” will take up 8,400 square feet of the development program and will generally be located west of the mansion.

Morrissey Design Studio designed the conceptual plans. Ort was not immediately available to comment.

The mansion was built in 1929 by Britt. The Georgia-born real-estate magnate, became a prominent fruit and vegetable producer in Florida. The property stayed in his family until 1967.

BankFIRST Realty, which had acquired the asset in foreclosure, sold the property to Ort’s Ps Glory LLC in 2014 for $980,000, records show. Ortz then began investing capital into renovating and preserving the mansion. More recently he contracted R&R Construction of Central Florida Inc. to re-roof the building.

The area is known as the entrance into Winter Garden.

A little further west along Plant Street, West Orange Healthcare District is granting the Foundation for a Healthier West Orange $17 million to build a new senior living wellness campus. The proposed Center for Creative Aging would include a fitness center, an aquatic center, a clubhouse, and an adult daycare along with other facilities and amenities.

Nearby is the Winter Garden Downtown Historic District, where luxury townhome communities are popping up around a slew of new retailers and eateries coming online by the district’s Plant City Market food hall and brewery.

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Just a couple blocks away from the historic district, a company led by local real estate consultant and developer Chuck Piper is planning a new residential community that’s made up of 26 new single-family homes and 14 new townhome units.

Meanwhile, Ort is behind several projects throughout Central Florida.

In the ChampionsGate-Reunion submarket in Davenport, he’s working with an investment group that’s selling off some land it bought in the area back in late 2017 for $2.73 million. Of the 46 acres, the team sold 16 acres to Watermark Residential, which recently completed the 326-unit Thrive by Watermark apartments.

More recently GrowthSpotter reported the investors sold two acres on C.R. 532, just southeast of the Interstate 4 interchange, to Western International, which plans to build a 128-room Home2 Suites hotel across from Reunion Village.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 491-3357, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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