A tech and healthcare entrepreneur is under contract to buy the shuttered Paco’s Mexican Restaurant site in Winter Park.
According to a comprehensive plan amendment and zoning classification application, Windermere resident Christopher Tracy is looking build a new two-story, 10,000-square-foot office development along Fairbanks Avenue.
Plans show the office will contain solar panels on its roof and up to 7,832 square feet of leasable space across four office suites. Stoa Studios is the architect.
Tracy is the CEO of CLT Holdings, which owns several growth management businesses operating in the tech and healthcare fields.
He’s under contract to purchase the 0.8-acre property at 1801 W Fairbanks Ave. for an undisclosed price. The current owner, Melissa Myers, has owned most of the property since 1986.
The Paco’s Mexican Restaurant closed in 2016 after 35 years in business. The site also contains a closed electronic cigarette store and cell tower.
At a Winter Park Planning and Zoning Work Session meeting, city planner Jeffrey Briggs said the developer working with staff to build something that works around the tower and is also aesthetically pleasing.
“This site is terribly challenged because it has that huge existing cell tower that they are working around,” Briggs said. “You’ll notice that the Clay Street entrance comes right through the parking lot, and they have two have extra parking spaces so when we get development in the adjacent property that traffic isle can continue right through to the next property.”
Bronce Stephenson, Winter Park’s planning and community development director, said they’re also working with the developer to add a greater buffer between the property and the residential homes behind the proposed development and the sidewalk along Fairbanks Avenue.
“We’re totally going to transform the pedestrian experience along Fairbanks. They’re [the development group] going to be sort of the trendsetters, if you will. That’s something we’re really really excited about,” he said. “What we forget is we’ve taken all the power lines down, and have all these nice decorative black street lights and everything, it’s just hard to see past the ugly buildings that are there."
Stephenson said their goal is to establish a ten-foot multi-use sidewalk, some of which is will be on the property site within an easement.
It took several years to wrap up, but Winter Park is finally near completing a list of infrastructure projects along Fairbanks Avenue that city staff hopes will draw interest from developers who may help continue revitalizing the area.
At least $8 million has been spent installing a sanitary sewer line system and new traffic and street lights in the corridor. In addition, a $12 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation helped bury electric transmission lines. That project is near completion.
“We have invested $20 million to get this corridor ripe for redevelopment and we’re about to enter that ballgame to getting some significant things to happen,” Briggs said.
He told the planning and zoning board more redevelopment is likely going to occur nearby.
Property owner Jim Veigle is rounding up about three acres north of Kentucky Avenue and east of I-4 for redevelopment. No plans for the property have been submitted to the city yet. The owner is looking to annex about two acres of the property into the city of Winter Park.