Development plans detailing what will become of the old Ranch Mall site along U.S. 17-92 in Winter Park won approvals from the city’s planning and zoning board Tuesday.
Oviedo-based Hill Gray Seven was seeking Conditional Use approval to develop a project featuring a mix of luxury retail, restaurant and office space across two buildings at 415 N. Orlando Avenue.
The firm intends to demolish the current standing structure that makes up the Ranch Mall — a 36-room motel turned commercial center, completed in the early 1950s.
In total, the two proposed buildings will span 24,000 square feet. The project will feature 4,000 square feet of sales/showroom space in the northern building, and 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor of the southern building.
That building will also feature 5,000 square feet of office space on its second floor, and is where Hill Gray Seven intends to relocate its current office.
Though building elevations appear to depict two-story buildings, only the southern portion of the larger building will accommodate a second floor.
That’s not to say the top of the buildings won’t be leveled. The developer was granted a variance to allow for up to 35 feet of interior ceiling heights across all buildings.
Currently, city code limits interior heights to be at 30 feet. According to public background information, the tall floor-to-ceiling height will attract higher-end users.
In addition to razing the current buildings, Hill Gray Seven plans to purchase an additional 0.73-acre site behind the property to use as off-site parking for the development. The land currently holds a vacant 12-unit multifamily development at 472 Broadview Avenue.
The developer also plans to build a brick wall lining a portion of the lot to separate it from neighboring residential properties.
At the meeting, several home owners near the development expressed their concerns over traffic and whether a parking lot would best serve the neighborhood.
Bronce Stephenson, Winter Park’s planning and community development director, promised board members the city is working with neighboring residents to ensure it offers traffic solutions.
City board members acknowledged that a traffic plan should be established before plans go before city commissioners. They voted unanimously to move the project along with several conditions.
The area, known as the 17-92 commercial corridor, has received strong interest from developers and investors over the past couple of years.
A new boutique hotel is being proposed just north of the Ranch Mall property on a 2.5-acre assemblage on Lake Killarney. Adam Wonus of Atrium Management Company, a partner in the development team for the hotel, is working with the city to also help address traffic concerns.
InvenTrust Properties Corp. purchased the shopping centers all cash in an off-market deal. Lakeside Winter Park is anchored by Trader Joe’s and Shake Shack and Lakeside Crossing features Chuy’s and Bulla Gastrobar.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the results from the discussion that took place at Winter Park’s Planning and Zoning meeting Tuesday, Feb 4.