Winter Park’s Bid for Bank of the Ozarks Land May Have New Life

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The city’s efforts to purchase the 1.88-acre property owned by Bank of the Ozarks remain in progress with planned development possibly moving to a new location.

The property, located at 1100 N. Orange Ave., had been slated for a three-story, 80,000-square-foot bank building. In June, the property became the focus of a land swap proposal for the former Winter Park Library site, but the city’s longstanding refusal to relinquish ownership of the library land led to discussions of an outright purchase of the Ozarks property. The city could then preserve the area as a greenspace.

Bank of the Ozarks’ $7.5 million asking price was a sticking point for city leaders, who agreed to make an offer of $6 million with funds coming from a $5 million bond and $1 million from donations or other resources. However, the 10-day response period on the offer, made after the June 14 city meeting, expired with no word from the owners.

A sketch of the Bank of the Ozarks property shows its location between Seven Oaks Park and Mead Botanical Garden. If the purchase goes through, the city would create a contiguous greenspace between all three properties. Image courtesy of: City of Winter Park

The issue was briefly revisited at the July 26 city meeting when Commissioner Marty Sullivan hinted that the possibility of a sale was becoming even less certain. “My crystal ball is cloudy,” he said. “I think that goes across all of the interested parties.”

In a response to questions from the32789, City Manager Randy Knight stated that Bank of the Ozarks has “been in discussion to build the bank at Ravaudage, which then frees up the Orange Avenue site for sale.”

Knight also stated that an offer, contingent upon City Commission approval, includes a bid of $6 million plus a waiver of half the mobility fee for the new bank building at Ravadauge (a value of approximately $134,000).

A mobility fee is a one-time fee, paid by a developer, to cover the costs of improvements to fully mitigate the traffic impact of a new development.

“The concept of the fee waiver is that the mobility fee could be used for a portion of the purchase,” Knight said, adding that Bank of the Ozarks had made an unofficial counteroffer that will require review by its executive team. The terms of the counteroffer are as follows:

  • A purchase price of $6 million
  • A waive of all transportation impact fees at the new construction site (amounting to $267,000)
  • The city would pay all title fees ($17,325) and documentary stamp taxes (amounting to $42,000)

Efforts to contact Bank of the Ozarks for comment were unsuccessful.

“The city, Ozarks, and Ravaudage would all have to come to agreement to make this work,” said Knight. The topic will go before City Commission at one of its September meetings.

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