During last week’s City of Winter Park Planning & Zoning Board virtual work session, there was discussion of a proposed plan for redevelopment of the property at the corner of West Fairbanks Avenue and Clay Street. The proposal is for a two-story, 7,832-square-foot office space dubbed the Tracy Office Building. The property, which sits across the street from Fairbanks Restaurant, currently houses two small retail buildings and a home.
In recent years, the City has implemented updates to Fairbanks Avenue that would allow for substantial redevelopment projects to take place along the popular corridor. These updates included the installment of new streetlights and moving overhead powerlines underground on the south side of the road as part of the Fairbanks Avenue Improvement Project, which began in late 2018 and is now complete. The City also worked on removing several billboards along Fairbanks and added a sanitary sewer system to eliminate reliance on septic tanks, which could only support smaller facilities. In total, about $20 million have been invested to prepare the corridor for redevelopment.
“The return on this investment is the redevelopment,” said Jeff Briggs, principal planner. “It is not really about the tax base as much as it is about changing the whole aesthetic of coming into the City of Winter Park so that you know you are some place important and special when you pull off I-4.”
The board also discussed how to protect the homeowners on Karolina Avenue, a residential road that neighbors the property proposed for this redevelopment project. A mandatory six-foot brick wall and landscape buffer will block view of the parking lot, expected to house 50 parking spaces. They will also avoid directing traffic to the residential street, ensure light from the commercial building does not disturb the residents, and place the dumpsters away from the residential area.
The cost of this redevelopment project was not discussed during the work session.