Winter Park visitor’s center, chamber offices moving to temporary location while new one is built
In preparation for the construction of a new visitor’s center, the Winter Park-Fraser Chamber of Commerce will be moving out of its current building, located on Highway 40 next to the Rendezvous Event Center, this month.
The new building is part of a partnership the chamber has with Rendezvous Winter Park, which owns the lot and has a 15-year lease agreement with the chamber. However, Rendezvous has plans to raze the existing building and construct a larger, multipurpose building in its spot.
“Because (Rendezvous) wanted to make it iconic, they wanted to make a real statement, they are going to demolish the building and build a new building,” said Catherine Ross, executive director of the chamber. “It’s all in concept form now, but we are moving out so that they can get busy.”
Aside from the visitor’s center, it will also house a sales center for Rendezvous and have space for one more business, but that space has not yet been leased.
The lot potentially could also include townhomes, per Rendezvous’s agreement with the town, but no building plans have yet been submitted to the town, so it is unclear if those will materialize.
Until the new building is completed, the chamber will be sharing space with Real Estate of Winter Park, which is also located on Highway 40 next to The Perk coffeehouse.
“We’re getting used to hanging out with real estate people,” Ross joked. “But our real determining factor, why we are moving into that building, is so that we maintain a presence on Highway 40 so that guests can get information and we can help give them information about our businesses.”
Ross said there will be some outside signage at the Real Estate of Winter Park building to notify visitors of the temporary move.
The chamber has to vacate its current building by Oct. 1 so that demolition and construction efforts can begin. The chamber has already started its plan to move the businesses offices first and will move the information center later this month.
Ross also said this was an ideal time because tourist traffic slows in October.
“If we can maintain the (info center) another week or two weeks, then we really get to where visitation in that center is almost nothing and that gives us the time to transition over,” she explained.
Ross said the move and temporary housing won’t affect the chamber’s duties or abilities to serve local businesses and guests. The chamber had already planned to update and consolidate the information they give to visitors, so Ross said the timing worked out well.
“We will still have that info at the new place, it just won’t all be displayed, but we will still be able to hand out everything we hand out now,” she said. “We will be committed to representing our members very consistently.”
The next steps will be for Rendezvous to start submitting permits and building plans to the town’s planning commission. It is unknown how long it will take to complete planning, demolition and construction.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.