How Tampa and Seattle may Inspire the Rehab of Winter Park’s Former Library Building

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City commissioners, during their April 13 meeting, will review a request for proposals (RFP) for partnerships in the reuse of the former Winter Park library building at 460 E. New England Ave. And its future could follow the path of some well-known historical renovations.

The RFP is the result of a series of meetings, including a January 10 workshop where commission members discussed possible uses for the property. Several points were agreed upon including allowing the City to maintain controlling ownership of the building and excluding the construction of a parking garage from any future use plans.

The request cites Tampa’s Oxford Exchange and Armature Works and the Seattle Center Armory as “conceptual comparisons” for the future of the building.

Tampa’s Oxford Exchange consists of a repurposed historic hotel and features restaurants, retail, coworking spaces, and an event space. Armature Works converted the former Tampa Electric building into a mixed-use commercial space that offers coworking offices, a public market, event spaces and eateries. The Seattle Center Armory dates back to 1939 and underwent several renovations before housing a food hall and event center.

According to the RFP, proposals should “create vibrancy and promote creative reuse of this municipally owned property. Goals of this RFP include a market rate lease offer for the existing building which allows for the renovation and enhancement of this unique property to be a place of excitement and community gathering space in the heart of downtown Winter Park.”

The paperwork lists favorable uses for the three-story, 33,000-square-foot building as:

· Small dining concepts including café or boutique food service establishments

· Arts and cultural offerings

· Small scale retail

· Office space

· Coworking or incubator spaces

The City had previously dedicated $300,000 in American Rescue Plan funds to HVAC, air conditioning, and roof repairs for the property. The responsibility of future repairs and upkeep to the 43-year-old building, which has been closed since Oct. 31, will be assumed by leases under a triple-net lease; an agreement in which tenants assume all expenses, including real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance.

A version of the RFP from the meeting agenda can be viewed here. Interested parties may obtain submission documents here.

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