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."