It’s been through three years of revisions, but plans by Suncor Properties to redevelop the vacant land next to Henry’s Depot food hall in downtown Sanford are finally hitting the home stretch of city approvals.
The developer originally wanted to build 100 apartments at the site, then plans changed to bring a hotel on the property, but those shifted as well when Suncor Properties began proposing a hybrid of the two ideas.
The latest proposal is a combination of efforts made by Suncor to get a greater return on their invested capital and the wishes of nearby residents and business owners, who wanted to see a mixed-use project that will serve the community while also honoring its old-town suburban atmosphere.
“We acquired this property three years ago, and it’s taken us the entire three years to find the highest and best use for the property,” Bob Horian, an executive at Suncor, told Sanford city commissioners last month during the first of two public hearings to rezone the property. “We think we finally hit a unique plateau by dividing the property in half.”
To the north of Suncor’s 1.83 acres at 200 W. 1st St., the developer plans to build 32 two-story townhomes that will feature three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two-car garages.
On the northwest corner of First Street and North Oak Avenue, the developer is planning to build a 50-room boutique hotel. Ron Semans, another executive at Suncor, told GrowthSpotter the company is currently negotiating with two national flags for the hotel.
“A hotel is exactly what is needed in Sanford,” Semans, said. “There are so many events happening in downtown, if there’s a wedding, there’s no place to stay.”
The only hotel in the immediate area was demolished a couple of years ago to make way for a new assisted living facility on Marina Island, which opened earlier this year.
Records show Suncor bought the 1.83-acre site next to Henry’s Depot from SunTrust Banks, now Truist, in 2017. The deal came to about $335,000.
The site is part of Sanford’s historic downtown district, with roots that date back to the 1880s when it was used as a rail station and eventually became part of the Orange Belt Railroad system, established by transportation mogul Henry B. Plant, which stretched 152 miles between Sanford and St. Petersburg.
Semans said he hopes to pay homage to its history through the project’s design and decor.
As of last month, about half of the townhomes were reserved, Horian said at the meeting. Pre-construction prices are in the $279,000 range.
CPH, Inc. is civil engineer on the project. Jacksonville-based Zona and Associates is the architect.
At the city commission meeting, Horian said he hopes to break ground early next year.
Nearby, Key Performance Hospitality Management is investing $30 million to renovate and enlarge the 94-year-old Mayfair Inn hotel on Lake Monroe. The shuttered Mediterranean-style building will be restored and transformed into a new 130-room boutique hotel, that’s slated to open in 2021. KPHM paid $3.5 million for the property in 2017.