One of the most visible downtown buildings is getting a few upgrades. The New Orleans-style landmark on the corner of 5th Avenue & Donnelly Street recently had new windows replace the boards on the second floor, plus a new roof and exterior painting are in progress.
The prominent structure was built in 1922, and had the ornate iron work added six decades later. Formerly known as the The Ramsey Building, it boasts 13,592 square feet on one of the city's most prime locations.
Main Street Leasing, the leasing arm of the building's owner, occupies the front portion of the first floor and the second floor is vacant. Although the company currently doesn't have specific plans for the building, it is looking at possibilities for its interior build-out, according to Michell Middleton, Main Street Leasing's leasing agent.
"We're just trying to figure out the best use for it," said Middleton.
In 1970, The Lamp Post restaurant opened in the building and operated until both the building and business sold in 1991 and became Lampu, Mount Dora's first Japanese steakhouse.
In 1993, the business sold to become Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and in 1994 it sold again to a new owner, John McKinney, who returned it to the name Lampu.
That was hardly the last transition for the iconic building. It sold in again in 1996 for $1 million while it housed three restaurants: Lampu, Juliana Restaurant, and The Sandcastle upstairs. Reportedly, the restaurants weren't part of the new buyers' vision for the large structure.
That vision ended relatively quickly when the building transitioned again in 1997 to its current owner, Mardi Gras of Mount Dora, Inc and fetched another $1 million purchase price, according to the Lake County Property Appraiser.
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Above: The building today. Below: The building (in the foreground) in what is estimated to be the 1940's,