The City of Winter Park has been courting a proposal to convert its former public library building at at 460 E. New England Avenue [GMap]  into a new wellness-focused incubator of sorts, but city staffers are now urging commissioners to reject the project at an upcoming public meeting.

The City of Winter Park issued a Request For Proposals last year asking for projects that would pay roughly $250,000 a year to lease the building over a 60-year term and that utilized the existing building, had limited food service, and did not add a parking garage or residential to the property.

Harbert Realty Services, along with Brasfield and Gorrie and HuntonBrady (which both worked on the new library building), were the only proposal to be submitted for the 43-year-old building. The plan, which you can see HERE, would have subleased the bottom floor of the building to wellness-focused businesses and a cafe, with the second and third floors serving as shared workspaces and offices as part of a business incubator program.

Following a 90-day negotiation period, Harbert has sent a revised offer that includes a $14.5 million renovation of the building but only $150,000 a year in rent, over a 20-year period, with five, 10-year options available, at their discretion.

Based on the reduction in the annual payments, city staff are recommending that city commissioners pass on the deal, and pursue other options, including another call for proposals for the property. Other proposed actions from city staff currently include rezoning the property to control future development and selling to a third party.

The commission is expected to vote on the topic on January 11.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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  1. What happened at the meeting? I heard there was an update on Harbert Realty renegotiating for the property. There was a meeting on Feb 2nd and I am trying to find out what happened.