Winter Park OKs Sitzmark development | SkyHiNews.com

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Winter Park OKs Sitzmark development

The Town of Winter Park has approved development agreements for the two Sitzmark properties, paving the way for major development in downtown Winter Park.

The town approved the two agreements, with the Sprout Foundation and the Winter Park Development Company LLC, at its Tuesday, May 5 meeting.

The agreements anticipate construction of a community center, hotel and grocery store in Winter Park, among other things.

"The community center and the grocery market do provide real attractive components to the community that really show that there's a lot going on here," said Town Manager Drew Nelson.

The two properties, located on the east side of U.S. Highway 40, straddle Telemark Drive at the north end of Winter Park.

The town plans to donate three acres of the nine-acre north parcel to the Sprout Foundation, a local non-profit, for construction of a 10,000 square-foot community center and 70-room hotel.

The community center will include an environmental education component, according to the development agreement.

Winter Park purchased the north property for $750,000 in 2010 to protect wetlands on the property and complete the Fraser River Trail.

The town will sell the 6.2-acre south parcel to Winter Park Development Company LLC for $1.2 million for the construction of condominiums, commercial space and a 25,000 square-foot grocery store, according to the development agreement.

Winter Park purchased the south parcel for $1.2 million in 2013.

"This is the culmination of about a year's worth of negotiations," Nelson said. "Clearly we've focused on both the community center component as well as the market component. Those have been the two largest pieces in terms of the town's negotiations."

Both the Sprout Foundation and Winter Park Development Company LLC are associated with Devil's Thumb Ranch co-owner and philanthropist Bob Fanch.

Fanch could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

The town anticipates generating a significant amount of revenue from development on the two properties.

An analysis completed by financial consulting firm Stan Bernstein & Associates projects around $11 million in revenue, including sales and lodging tax collections, from the properties over the next 15 years.

The town would recoup its expenditures and waived fees, approximately $1.1 million, by 2018, said Amy Greer, with Stan Bernstein & Associates.

"Even if some of these assumptions were adjusted, like maybe the sales tax revenues were not quite as high or whatnot, I think the numbers still look very positive in terms of the town being able to recoup its expenditures fairly quickly," Greer said.

At stabilization, the properties would yield around $850,000 annually for the town.

The analysis was based on the assumptions that the grocery store would be operational in 2016 and the hotel in 2018.

The town will hold a public hearing on the Sitzmark properties on May 19.