GPK Real Estate, an Orlando-based company led by developer Jeff Adelman, made an unsolicited offer to build a mixed-use development in downtown Ocoee, after the first planned contract fell through earlier this year.
Under Adelman’s proposal, his company GPK Fund II LLC would purchase a half-acre lot at 2 N. Bluford Ave. from the city at the time of completion.
The proposed agreement then states the city will convey fee simple title to the property for $100. The city would reserve the right to maintain any necessary easements on the property as part of the transaction.
City Commissioners voted Monday to allow staff to move forward and prepare a sales contract/agreement with GPK Investments.
City Manager Rob Frank told GrowthSpotter the developer would have to adhere to certain minimum design and construction parameters in order to qualify for the city property transfer.
“We have been looking to partner with a developer to help realize the city’s vision on this downtown corner parcel, which will be directly across the street from the new city hall,” he said. “We expect the final plan to include retail and restaurants, along with living units and professional office space.”
Submitted plans show the development plan calls for two, three-story buildings that will feature a total of up to 40,000 square feet of ground floor retail and office space and 34 townhouse units above.
The city bought the lot in 2017 for $344,350 using utilities funding. Upon transfer, Ocoee would need to reimburse the utilities fund. The building previously on site, was built in the 1950′s and the City of Ocoee demolished the structure earlier this year.
The mixed-use project is part of the city’s initial $43 million redevelopment plan, where city staff created a vision for the downtown block that’s compatible with efforts to attract more economic development and support a growing number of residents moving to the area.
The lot was originally under contract with VMG Construction, Inc., which offered to build the city’s rendered plan for a total construction cost of about $5 million. But earlier this spring, VMG representatives terminated their agreement with the city.
Representatives at the company were not immediately available to comment.
Another unsolicited offer proposing to build a bed and breakfast on the site was rejected by the city commission in February.
The city’s downtown master plan includes an $8 million downtown stormwater system and a nearly $10 million project to reconstruct Bluford Avenue. The Lakeshore Center expansion is nearly complete, and a new lakefront park and City Hall are underway.
Last year, GrowthSpotter reported the city singled-out a design for its new building that uses a combination of brick masonry with precast concrete.
The new City Hall is estimated to cost $12 million, with $9 million coming from a 2017 General Fund Bond.
Ocoee’s population has nearly tripled since the initial City Hall was built in the mid-1990s from 17,000 residents to more than 50,000, according to the American Community Survey.
Developers active in the area include Richard Wohlfarth of Wohlfarth Consulting Group, who is developing roughly 70 vacant acres in the city into a bustling master-planned community equipped with apartments, townhomes and more than 150,000 square feet of commercial space.
Ocoee isn’t alone in seeking Public Private Partnerships to bring vitality to their central business districts. Earlier this summer, Haines City agreed to partner with Feltrim Group on an infill mixed-use project next to its City Hall.