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Seminole County Developments

As development continues to replace parking lots in downtown Sanford, city to discuss parking garage

Site plans filed to the city show two four-story brick buildings separated by a courtyard with a total of 9,400 square feet of commercial, retail and restaurant space on the bottom floor and a total of 28 dwelling units on the upper three levels.

A new plan to build a four-story mixed-use building with 28 apartment units in downtown Sanford could result in the loss of a large city-leased parking lot at the corner of Palmetto and 2nd Streets.

And this comes as another expansive surface parking lot near Lake Monroe is set to be consumed by the long-envisioned, but stalled Heritage Park development, which is slated to one day include shops, offices, and housing.

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Assistant city manager Craig Radzak told GrowthSpotter that it’s time for the city to seriously consider if a parking garage is needed, and if so, where it should go.

“Parking lots are not the highest and best use for a piece of land, so we are always in favor of developers coming in and developing a piece of property,” he said. “But then there’s the catch-22 where we lose parking.”

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He added, “What we need to do is come up with a plan for a parking structure. And then the question begs: Where is a good location for a parking structure? I think the city staff has got to come up with a plan to present to the commission.”

He noted that parking structures are expensive to build.

“It depends on how many stories you’re looking to build, but you could be talking anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 per space,” Radzak said. “It’s very expensive so we’d have to figure out how we are going to fund it.”

The city would also have to pick a location for the garage and determine if it needs to buy land or put it on existing city property. Possible location options include the city hall parking lot or the parking lot outside Monroe Hall, a city-owned building that consists of an office area, conference room, and event space.

The city of Sanford has leased this parking lot on Palmetto Avenue since 2017. This is where a developer is planning to build a new mixed-use building with commercial space and apartment units.

“There are a lot of challenges with this, but as more development comes to Sanford these parking spaces and lots are not going to be available,” Radzak said. “I think we need to plan for it as development increases. Staff is working on this.”

He said the topic is likely to go before the commission in October for discussion.

Heritage Park has been planned for city-owned land for years.

In 2017, Sanford entered into a 10-year agreement with Sanford Waterfront Partners to develop the vacant two-block area into a mixed-use development. The city offered the developer nearly $12 million in various incentives. The project has stalled, and the city-owned land is now used mostly for parking during large events.

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Richard Heisenbottle, manager of Sanford Waterfront Partners, told the Orlando-Sentinel in July that project delays are the result of the city “dragging its feet” in readying the land for development.

Radzak told GrowthSpotter he doesn’t know when construction would start on Heritage Park — “but when it does, we are going to lose all those parking spaces and it’s going to be like ‘Oh no, let’s quickly come up with something.’”

In 2017, Sanford entered into a 10-year agreement with Sanford Waterfront Partners to develop the vacant two-block area into a mixed-use development. The city offered the developer nearly $12 million in various incentives. The project has stalled, and the city-owned land is now used mostly for parking during large events.

Most recently, Orlando-based developer Lakeview Oak submitted plans to the city for two mixed-use buildings that would include a total of 9,400 square feet of commercial, retail, and restaurant space on the bottom floor and a total of 28 dwelling units on the upper three levels.

The property sits at the southwest intersection of Palmetto and 2nd Streets, directly behind Sanford’s historic Ritz Theatre. The city has since 2017 leased the land to use as a parking lot. That lease expires in late September.

Founded in 2017, Lakeview Oak focuses on creating vibrant mixed-used development opportunities in Florida’s historic small cities, according to the company’s website.

This isn’t the company’s first development project in Sanford.

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Recently, Lakeview Oak wrapped construction on a mixed-use product with ten apartment units and 2,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space at the site of the former San Leon Motel.

Located at the corner of Sanford Avenue and 2nd Street, is set to open soon with a coffee shop (Foxtail), ice cream shop (Kelly’s Ice Cream), and brewery (Ravenous Pig) on the bottom floor.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at (407)-800-1161 or dwyatt@GrowthSpotter.com, or tweet me at @DustinWyattGS. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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