Winter Garden-based RV dealer Giant Recreation World paid $3 million on Tuesday to buy a neighboring 8.2-acre lot from a competing dealership, with plans to nearly triple its current footprint.
Located at 14100 W. Colonial Dr. in Winter Garden, the property lies a few hundred yards west of Winter Garden Vineland Road, and had been home to competing dealership Leisure Time RV since 2000.
The property had been owned by members of the Van Winkle Family Partnership LLLP since 2003, when it paid $440,000. An RV resort and similar campground are each located within a quarter mile of the site.
The Van Winkle family started Leisure Time RV in 1970, at another location on W. Colonial Drive near Pine Hills. The business moved twice in the years that followed before daughter Sherri Allen orchestrated a purchase of the 8.2-acre site in Winter Garden in 2000.
A tightening market for RV sales and family members favoring retirement prompted a decision earlier this year to close the business in March and sell the property, James Van Winkle said Wednesday.
"(Giant Recreation World) approached us about the property, I think they knew we were closing down and they needed more sales area. So that worked out very nicely," he said, noting the family does not plan to reinvest in real estate.
Directly east across the street is Giant Recreation World's existing dealership on 4.82 acres, which the company's McNamara family ownership has owned in some form since 1995.
The buyer sourced a $2.4 million purchase-money mortgage from the seller.
Giant Recreation World may run a risk of not being able to use the newly-acquired property for RV sales, if it doesn't begin operations there soon.
Winter Garden planning staff said Wednesday that if the property has been inactive for six months or more, and if RV sales was a legal non-conforming use within the parcel's original C-2 zoning, a new owner would lose that non-confirming use and Winter Garden wouldn't be inclined to support more RV usage there.
With Leisure Time RV closing roughly four-and-a-half months ago, that still gives Giant Recreation World time to clean up and activate the new property, something it plans to do "as soon as possible," marketing director Matthew Harrison said Wednesday.
Giant Recreation World is in the midst of expanding or relocating all three of its locations in Central Florida.
The company relocated its Ormond Beach dealership from Route 1 to an Interstate 95 exit on Destination Daytona Lane, which opened last week. It's also currently building a new larger store on I-95 in Palm Bay where it will relocate its Melbourne business later this year.