Seminole County Developments

New Orleans-themed building latest addition to revitalized downtown Sanford

This mixed-use building with 14 1-bedroom apartments and ground-level retail is slated for downtown Sanford.

A three-story mixed-use building sporting a Bourbon Street vibe is the latest trendy addition to Sanford’s resurgent downtown.

Dubbed Magnolia Place, the 13,266-square-foot building will be built on a vacant quarter-acre parcel at 201 Sanford Ave. The owner is San Leon Sanford LLC, a company led by Orlando attorney Daniel R. Matthews.


Matthews qualifies for a $50,000 construction grant from Sanford’s Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency for the project. The CRA created the construction program in 2016 to spur downtown development. The grant reimburses developers 20 percent of construction costs up to $50,000. Matthews estimates the project would cost $3.5 million.

The building will be block with wood frame and wood trusses. The exterior façade will aim to emulate New Orleans’ French Quarter style with brick, wrought iron balconies, tall steel columns and trim work, according to James Garritani, principal architect with the architectural firm, Keesee Associates of Apopka.


“That was a site preselected by the owner because of the activity going on in downtown Sanford; it’s a very viable location,” Garritani told GrowthSpotter.

The first floor will dedicate 2,200 square feet to retail with the remaining 3,121 square feet housing amenities for tenants such as bike storage, secured entry/exit. Parking will be in the rear.

“We hope that a restaurant will go in downstairs and some type of boutique,” Garritani said, adding that the owners hope to attract pedestrians and bicyclists from downtown.

“We’re one block off the main street,” he said.

Levels two and three will contain eight apartments with balconies overlooking historic downtown Sanford. The apartments will have a single bedroom and open-feel studio living area. Adjacent to the main building will be a single-story structure housing two apartments facing the street.

The property was once the site of the Hotel San Leon, which survived the Great Sanford Fire of 1887. The hotel was eventually razed between 1912 and 1917, and the property has been vacant ever since.

The development team is about to start the permitting process with Sanford officials, according to Keesee project manager Dustin Smith. Construction should start early this summer, Smith said. He said he’s not sure when the building will be finished.

Jose J. Venegas of JJV Studio of Orlando designed the building with help from Keesee. Other members of the development team are general contractor Ovida Construction Group of Oviedo, civil engineering consultant FDS Engineering Associates of Orlando, and Ingenuity Engineers, which is designing mechanical, electrical and plumbing.


Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.