Next year, watch for Mount Dora Center for the Arts’ (MDCA) long-time address to change. The two-story brick building, which has been owned and occupied by MDCA since 1995, is located in the heart of downtown Mount Dora across from Donnelly Park.
In addition to the art center’s gallery, offices and classrooms, the historic building is also home to Scoops on 5th and Artisans on Fifth. Scoops on 5th, an ice cream shop, has two to three years left on its lease, but Artisans on Fifth does not have a lease and is currently looking for a new location, according to MDCA Executive Director Nancy Zinkofsky.
After 46 years in the current prime location, the MDCA board voted earlier this month to sell its building to G3 Development for approximately $1.3 million. The deal, expected to close by the end of June, enables the art center to be in a better long-term financial position to focus on its core mission of advancement of fine arts in the greater Mount Dora area, according to Zinkofsky.
G3 has proposed a custom-designed space for the center to lease from the developer. The proposed site is located along Royellou Alley behind the existing building where there are currently parking spaces and a patio. Although not designed yet, MDCA will collaborate with the architect and anticipates bright, open and flexible spaces for its gallery and classes, plus an outdoor space for events.
In addition to organizing the top-ranked Mount Dora Arts Festival, MDCA also offers various art programs for all ages and experience levels throughout the year. Its annual summer camp for school-age children is one of the area’s most popular summer programs. The Center’s ground-floor gallery features monthly art exhibits of established and emerging artists. Before Covid-19, MDCA also organized the monthly Art in the Alley event.
G3 owns other commercial properties in Mount Dora that include an office complex on Donnelly Street and another one-story complex on the corner of Donnelly and Limit, as well as the lease-subsidized Sunset Building on Third Avenue downtown. G3's ownership also has a stake in Pineapple Point, the undeveloped waterfront acreage next to Lakeside Inn. The company’s current projects include Donnelly Woods, a 112-unit apartment complex with professional offices, near Limit and Donnelly Street.
Earlier this year, G3 submitted preliminary plans for two new proposed downtown buildings to the Historic Preservation Board (HPB). Both projects are over three stories tall: the Gaslight Building was proposed for Baker Street near 3rd Avenue and the other building was proposed for Royellou Alley next to the Sunset Building.
The commercial real estate developer was a sponsor for this year's Mount Dora Art Festival in February and has committed to continued sponsorships for the next 10 years.
MDCA’s new location is projected to be completed in 12 to 18 months. During that time the center’s gallery will continue operation either at its current location at 138 E. Fifth Avenue or in the space next door currently occupied by Artisans on Fifth."
The newest location of Peach Valley Cafe, a Florida-based chain that dishes up a variety of housemade breakfast and lunch options made from fresh ingredients, will open April 15. The expanding chain currently has six other venues in the state and a new one slated for Maitland.
Known for their fresh apple fritters tossed tableside in cinnamon sugar, the restaurant’s morning offerings include a variety of hearty breakfasts like various omelets, eggs benedicts, blueberry pancakes, stuffed French toast, and biscuits and gravy, as well as lighter breakfasts like avocado toast, housemade granola, smoked-salmon bagels, fruit bowls and egg sandwiches. Breakfasts run from approximately $5 to $12. A variety of mimosas, Bloody Marys, Bellinis and sangria are also available.
Peach Valley’s lunch options also run the gamut with menu items ranging from salads, wraps and soups to fish tacos, meaty burgers, shrimp and grits, plus a variety of hot and cold sandwiches. Lunches are priced from $8 to $12. A kids’ menu is also available. The casual contemporary cafe also offers lunch and breakfast catering and platters.
The owner of the chain, Eric Holm, is one busy guy. He recently launched another new restaurant concept, Colt’s Pig Stand, a fast-casual barbecue eatery with two Florida locations, in addition to owning dozens of Golden Corral restaurants in Florida and Georgia, among other business ventures.
Holm’s single-parent mother was a waitress at the original Sonny’s BBQ in Gainesville, and he got his start bussing alongside her as a teen. After finding success, he never forgot his humble roots and, over 25 years ago, started “Helpings from the Heart” which now serves free Thanksgiving Day meals to 20,000 deserving Central Florida residents every year.
Mount Dora’s Peach Valley Cafe will be located at 18935 U.S. Highway 441 in the space formerly occupied by Bob Evans. The restaurant is currently hiring, and anyone interested can apply in person at the restaurant.
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Who could have guessed a new gas station would garner so much attention? Apparently, to its loyal fans, Wawa is much more than a place to fill your tank-- it’s also a popular place to fill up your belly.
Wawa, a national convenience store and gas station chain, is planning to open its new Mount Dora location in June, but an exact date isn't available yet. Their 24-hour, take-out food and beverage menu won’t disappoint loyal diehards that have literally been waiting years for the new location to open.
Breakfast offerings include breakfast sandwiches, burritos, bowls, hoagies and oatmeal. Lunch and dinner feature burgers, quesadillas, burritos and burrito bowls, sourdough melts, soups and salads, plus hot and cold hoagies. .
Mount Dora’s new Wawa will also have specialty drinks that include smoothies, iced lattes, frozen cappuccinos, Flurricanes and milkshakes in a variety of flavors. (see menu)
In the spring of 2017, it was announced that a new Wawa would replace the small Shell station on the corner of U.S. 441 and Morningside Drive near Lake Gertrude in Mount Dora. Although the project was approved early on by the City of Mount Dora, the Pennsylvania-based company revised its construction schedule to provide for a 2021 opening in Mount Dora.
Wawa opened its first store in Florida in 2012 and had over 100 locations in the Sunshine State when it first announced its Mount Dora location in 2017.
In 2020, Wawa planned to open 20 new stores throughout Florida and start construction on a number of others. At that time, the company’s goal was to reach 400 stores in Florida by 2028.
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