Bids come in for city center
A boutique grocer, brand new bank, and multiple levels of new apartments, parking and shops could replace a current downtown of a dilapidated, long-empty Winn-Dixie, used car lot and empty asphalt parking spaces if plans proposed last week pull through to put a new face on Maitland.
A request for proposals put out by the city in February for bid on two city-owned properties — the old city hall site and the neighboring parking lot to the north across Horatio Avenue — elicited three responses by developers who proposed their vision of what Maitland’s new downtown should be.
Maitland Community Redevelopment Director Verl Emrick said the city and its advisory boards are now tasked with evaluating each one and making recommendations for a City Council review in three to four months.
“If they can’t work together, then they’ve got to make a choice between one of the three,” Emrick said. Or, the city could choose to scrap all three and reopen the process for new proposals.
A proposal by David Lamm utilizes both available city-owned properties to create a downtown “village” deemed the Maitland City Centre. Lamm’s plans envision multifamily housing and ground floor retail on the old Winn-Dixie/New Traditions Bank lot and the old city hall location bordering both properties to face Independence Lane and U.S. Highway 17-92. Plans show a city staff parking lot on the back of the old city hall site, and a parking garage on the northern parking lot directly across of Horatio Avenue.
Plans submitted by Nathan Landers of Blackfin Partners address only the northern Horatio parking lot, developing it into a specialty grocery store – Earth Fare. Landers is also in negotiations with the owners of the neighboring Smith/Snodgrass property covering the northeast corner of the 17-92/Horatio intersection. Those plans would connect in with the grocery store, adding a bank and approximately 4,800 square feet of additional retail space.
The final proposal from Scott Ryan plans for a parking garage on the old city hall site, with 45,000 square feet of retail and office space lining the frontage to Independence Lane. Of the proposed three floors of the parking garage, 100 spaces would be reserved for the city.
Emrick said the proposals will start with consideration by the Community Redevelopment Advisory Board, and then move through the standard screening process of Planning and Zoning and the Development Review Committee before recommendations reach the Maitland City Council. It’s a process, he said, that could take until early fall.
The three to four months of review will be a long, but long overdue, process, Emrick said. Plans for a redeveloped city core have been in talks for decades, and since standards for development were established in the Downtown Zoning District approved by Council in 2012, concrete development plans had gone quiet.
Now more than two years later, Emrick said, “Everybody just wants something vertical.”