Don’t get too excited, but the CIty of Mount Dora engaged in preliminary discussions with a developer about a shipping container park on Old U.S. 441.
The popular development concept re-purposes old shipping containers into commercial uses like small restaurants, bars and retail shops. The benefit of these projects is the ease of constructing and transporting the containers, which can make mixed-use projects relatively inexpensive. Read more
ABOVE: Rendering of AMCO project that was presented during January Mount Dora City Council meeting. The height of tallest building shown was reduced after this rendering. (Source: City of Mount Dora public record)
In March the developer which sought to exceed the 100-foot building height limit in the Wolf Branch Innovation District (WBID) filed legal action against the City of Mount Dora. AMCO Development and MK & AD Land Investments (collectively, “AMCO”) requested a magistrate to review Mount Dora City Council’s rejection of its 36-acre proposed development located on the south side of State Road 46 inside the 850-acre WBID.
Five of the seven council members voted to deny approval of the development at the February 21 hearing largely due to it significantly exceeding that area’s 100-foot building height limit and incorporating uses outside of what the property’s land use allows. At that marathon meeting several residents, along with City Council members Doug Bryant, Dennis Dawson and Nate Walker, continued to express their concerns over the development's height.
AMCO filed legal action to utilize Florida Statute 70.51 which allows any property owner to apply for relief if they believe that a development order is unreasonable or unfairly burdens the use of their property. A magistrate, selected by both the City and AMCO, would then mediate to see if the two parties can negotiate an agreement.
At the February 21 public hearing AMCO's project included the following:
865 apartment units (revised from 650 units)
665 condo units (revised from 450 units)
950,000 square feet of commercial space (revised from 750,000 square feet)
250-foot building height in a 100-foot maximum height area (revised from 350 feet)
275 senior living units
900,000 square feet of office space
150,000 square feet of warehouse
325 hotel rooms
100,000 square-foot convention center
80,000 square feet of future commercial space on Tract 1 (fronting SR 46)
100,000 of future commercial Tract 2 (fronting SR 46) with specialty grocer (55,000 sf)
Revised Buildings B, C, and D are mixed use buildings with office, residential, and commercial.
Revised Building A (office) moved from Phase 1 to Phase 3
During the upcoming mediation process, the City’s negotiating team is slated to be City Manager Patrick Comiskey, Mayor Crissy Stile, City Attorney Sherry Sutphen, and Planning Director Vince Sandersfeld. If that team decides to compromise with AMCO, their agreement would then come before the City Council for a vote. If approved by the Council, a final public hearing could immediately follow on that same evening. That would be the only opportunity for the public to provide input, unless the City Council decides the hearing should be held at a later date to allow time to inform the public of the agreement. If the City Council votes to decline the agreement, the matter would go before the magistrate to reconsider the original decision.
AMCO's development was the first proposed project located within the WBID to come before Mount Dora City Council for a vote. There are no similar projects in size or scope shown on AMCO Development’s website or that appear in internet searches. Mount Dora Buzz reached out to AMCO’s president, Aaron Hakim, on three occasions for more information, but he did not respond to any questions.
The WBID is a joint partnership between Mount Dora and Lake County and comprises 850 acres along State Roads 46 and 453. Some of the privately owned land lies within Mount Dora's city limits, while other property is in unincorporated Lake County. Initial discussions began about the creation of the WBID in 2004 and picked up planning momentum about a decade ago. The intent was to plan for growth and bring economic development to the area along with high-paying jobs. After public input, the two government entities adopted the WBID plan. Design standards were put in place, including a 100-foot height limit adopted by Mount Dora City Council in 2018.
The legacy of Mount Dora is a hot topic and could be decided by Mount Dora City Council at a public meeting in City Hall on February 21. Only four members of the council need to vote in favor of AMCO Development’s rezoning application for its proposed 38-acre development in order for it to pass. Read more
In recent weeks, there has been a lot of chatter on local social media regarding a towering development proposed for Mount Dora. Though it might feel like deja vu, it isn’t as familiar as it may seem. Read more
A new residential and commercial development, Vista Hills, was approved by Mount Dora City Council on December 20. The project sits on 33.38 acres located north of State Road 46 and on the west side of Norton Lane. The owner of the property is Route 46 Properties, LLC.
The Planned Unit Development (PUD), which required a zoning change, will be mixed use with 442 apartments and up to 55,000 square feet of commercial space for retail and office uses. Construction will occur in three phases: Phase one includes 256 apartments and roadway, Phase Two will build 186 apartments and 27,500 square-feet commercial, and Phase Three completes the project with up to 27,500 square-feet of commercial space.
The apartment complex will consist of 15 buildings with plans for a fitness center, pool, playground, tennis, trails, basketball court, and dog park for its residents. Vista Hills will also provide trails to the City’s overall planned trail network, as well as provide land for a planned east-west connector roadway.
The commercial portions of the development will be along the southern portion of the property adjacent to SR 46 with the apartments being on the northern section of the project. Directly west of the project is the planned Wekiva Ridge development.
There are .80 acres of wetlands on the property which will remain undeveloped. The development plans include a 50-foot upland buffer adjacent to those wetlands.
Mount Dora Planning and Zoning Commission previously approved the project with a 6-0 vote. City staff recommended approving the PUD, stating the project is consistent with the land use pattern in the emerging Wolf Branch Innovation District (WBID). The City Council approval came after two public hearings on the development. Find more upcoming local development projects here.
On property that was recently set to become part of a new townhouse development, a different plan is now on the table. Preliminary plans were submitted by the developer proposing Parkview Apartments, 59 units in a three-story building located on the southeast corner of Grandview and Liberty, diagonally across from Gilbert Park. Previously, a townhouse project called The Bungalows was slated for the property by the same developer. Read more
Change is coming. Residential growth in the rural eastern side of Mount Dora has long been expected. It’s now come to fruition with Timberwalk, the 376-home development on Round Lake Road, expected to begin construction soon and adding to the traffic congestion during neighboring Round Lake Charter School’s student drop-off and pick-up times.
The area’s newest neighborhood, approved last year, will be built next to the elementary school and will sprawl over 170 acres with single-family homes featuring a minimum of 1,300 square feet. Although the project didn’t require a zoning change, it will transform that area of Round Lake Road which currently is predominantly open pastures on low rolling hills. The net density of the development is 2.4 homes per acre.
The style of the homes and white perimeter fencing will be similar to Sullivan Ranch, another residential development on Round Lake Road, according to developers at the time of the project’s approval.
Although only 46 acres of open space are required, the developer of TImberwalk set aside 70 acres of open space that includes 3.69 acres of wetlands. Among the amenities are a pool, walking trails, a multi-use ball field, as well as community RV and boat storage.
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Prime commercial land in downtown Eustis will begin transforming into a five-story apartment building. The 21,000 square foot Grove Park Tower, will feature twenty units that are all one-bedroom and one-and-one-half bath with in-suite laundry and covered parking. The building will be located at the northwest corner of Dewey Street and Magnolia Avenue across from the library in the heart of downtown.
The property, formerly owned by Lake Community Foundation/Lake Eustis Properties was purchased by North Central Place LLC whose principal is Daniel DiVenanzo, an experienced Eustis developer and landlord. DiVenanzo also owns the Renaissance Building in downtown Mount Dora.
The $1.9 million project is scheduled to be completed in early 2021 and is expected to generate new tax revenue for Eustis. According to the City of Eustis, the project is consistent with its Downtown Plan, Redevelopment Plan, and Land Development Guidelines for the City.
For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here.
Mount Dora’s newest proposed development, Donnelly Woods, is a combination of apartments and professional office space. The final public hearing is set for Tuesday,May 5 at the Mount Dora Community Building at 5:30 p.m. The entrance is on 6th Avenue.
The development would encompass two adjoining parcels on the east side of Donnelly Street and the north side of Limit Avenue. The parcels total just under 17 acres and 2.22 of those acres are wetlands, which would be left undisturbed. Read more
It’s always one of the hottest local topics in Mount Dora and Tavares -- the Tav-Dora trail, a bike trail that would connect the two communities to each other and to Florida’s Coast-to-Coast Trail. Recently, the railroad was sold, so it’s an opportune time for Mount Dora Buzz to provide an update with current information from the trail’s long-time advocate and spearhead, Tavares City Administrator, John Drury. Read more