City Commission Special Meeting
August 11, 2022
Present Mayor Phil Anderson; Commissioners Sheila DeCiccio and Kris Cruzada. City Manager Randy Knight; City Attorney Kurt Ardaman and City Clerk Rene Cranis.
Absent Commissioners Marty Sullivan and Todd Weaver.
Also present: Asst. Director of Planning Allison McGillis and Senior Vice President / Managing Director, Harbert Realty Services Damien Madsen.
1) Call to Order Mayor Anderson called the special meeting to order at 1:00 p.m.
2) Action Item a. Review of old library building reuse proposal. Mayor Anderson spoke about the history of the old library, currently a shell that will require maintenance and renovations. He explained the city solicited proposals for reuse of the building and reviewed some parameters of the scope for proposals.
Mr. Knight reviewed the parameters of the proposal: land lease (not a sale), no residential use, and low intensity due to limited parking space. Several persons expressed an interest and toured the building but only one responsive proposal was received.
Mayor Anderson asked Mr. Madsen to provide more information about the shared workspace concept for the 2nd and 3rd floors during his presentation.
Mr. Madsen said their intent is to create an affordable co-work office space for start-ups and individually-owned businesses with office space on the 2nd and 3rd floors and a health and wellness component on part of the first floor. His company is in discussions with the Historical Association to occupy part of the first floor and has commitments and others expressing an interest in the 2nd and 3rd floor space. He anticipates investing $10.5M to bring the building up to code and for renovations including new glass, ADA- compliant restrooms and a new elevator. Mr. Madsen responded to questions explaining users are "boot-strapping", by using a shared workspace and costs for a reception area, conference room, break room, staff, and other workspaces.
Mayor Anderson explained that the EDAB subcommittee is working on a survey of office space, retail and restaurant uses that are compatible with Winter Park to target more start-up financial services and non-profits. Discussion followed on the shared/co-work space concept.
Commissioner DeCiccio asked about the affordability for start-up businesses. Mr. Madsen said it cannot be too expensive for start-ups and offered to submit a pricing sheet which could change depending on demand. He responded to questions about parking noting that Rollins has tentatively agreed to a shared parking arrangement and they will be approaching All Saints Episcopal Church for a shared parking plan.
In response to questions by Commissioner Cruzada, Mr. Madsen said there may be enterprise clients that would not want a long-term lease but may need space on a short- term basis. The space could be used for sales representatives who travel
Mayor Anderson addressed the public benefit and what, if anything, the community is missing such as a museum, performance space, and a low-cost point of entry for start- up companies. Mr. Madsen stated that the concept provides for collaboration for those entering and those leaving the workplace, which serves everyone in the community. Discussion followed on the city being a hub for entrepreneurial efforts and how the concept could be a part of that strategy. Mr. Madsen stated that he wants the concept to succeed but also wants this to be beneficial to the city.
Discussion was held on the food/café option for the building. Mr. Madsen showed a floor plan with a health and wellness café that serves food that can be eaten on-site or take-out without a drive-through.
Mayor Anderson stated that any use will require rezoning from R-4 and asked how the approval process would work. Mr. Knight stated the process would start with an approval of the proposal by the commission and direction to staff to negotiate an agreement to be brought back for approval which would be subject to rezoning through the normal process. Mrs. McGillis clarified that a café component would need commercial zoning C-3 or C-3A which requires conditional use approval.
Discussion followed on how to present the proposal to the neighborhood including sending a notice to surrounding neighbors once the contract is negotiated or having a public meeting before the contract comes back to the commission as a public hearing. Mayor Anderson wants to ensure the neighborhood is aware of the plan and understands the proposal and its impact.
Commissioner DeCiccio said she feels the concept should be presented to the neighborhood in a community meeting with Mr. Madsen making a presentation and addressing parking.
Mayor Anderson stated that there is a tentative agreement but is dependent on zoning and neighborhood support. He said that discussion is needed on the length of the lease, lease payment, and alternatives if the proposal is rejected.
Commissioner DeCiccio said if the city sells the property, the city could use the funds to purchase other property (i.e. Bank of the Ozarks) that would be an asset to the city.
Commissioner Cruzada and Mayor Anderson supported retaining ownership of the land. Mayor Anderson said he is uncomfortable with a 60-year term and prefers a 20 or 30- year lease with a negotiating period for renewals. Discussion followed on lease payments and affordability of space to non-profits and start-up businesses.
Mr. Madsen stated that his company has done some modeling and analysis on the financial impact of potentially not paying rent to the city for the space "donated" to the Historical Association. He would like for the commission to move forward and negotiate in good faith and is excited to move forward with the endeavor.
There were no public comments.
Commissioner DeCiccio asked that reduced rents for start-ups be discussed as part of the negotiations. Mr. Knight will include the topic in negotiations.
Motion made by Mayor Anderson to authorize staff to negotiate a lease agreement with Harbert Realty Services and meet with residents during the 90-day window of negotiations for public input; seconded by Commissioner Cruzada.
Motion carried unanimously with a 3-0 vote.
The meeting adjourned at 2:13 p.m.
View the original PDF at the City of Winter Park (https://winterpark.granicus.com/DocumentViewer.php?file=winterpark_9a66b13d-6d7c-4833-a62b-13df00e7179d.pdf).
Posted to WinterParkSunshine.org on October 10, 2022.