Developer owes $170K on prime lakefront property city of Sanford wants



SANFORD, Fla. - The city of Sanford is fighting with a developer over prime lakefront real estate.

The owner of the old Palms Island Resort, on Lake Monroe, wants to turn the hotel into a dorm for a flight school at the Sanford International Airport.

City leaders had much bigger plans in mind.

The property can be seen right across the lake. Officials said the owner of that building continues to fall behind on his taxes, and if he doesn't pay up, the city may already have plans for what it would like to see there.

"It is a focal point of the city. It is one of our prime properties on our lakefront. We would like to see some development, but we understand that it has been tough economic times," Deputy City Manager Tom George said.

George said he loves the location of the Palms Island Resort and Marina.

The property is leased by TFA, a Lake Mary property management company.

It is a prime piece of real estate right on Lake Monroe, but if the owner doesn't clean up his act and pay close to $170,000 in back taxes, the city could get the building back.

"We would just like to see them pay their taxes. I mean, they are two years behind," George said.

The property is also facing several code violations that are not appealing to the new look Sanford city leaders are striving for.

"There have been some code violations on some minor-type things, parking lot maintenance," George said.

Eyewitness News tried to contact TFA manager Frank Cerasoli but was unsuccessful.

In the meantime, Sanford city commissioners are set to meet Monday night to discuss those back taxes.

"Well, if they don't pay, we will start the default process, and they could lose their lease," George said. "We'd like to see either a new hotel, an event center or something of that nature."

Sanford city leaders will vote whether or not to give that owner a 60-day notice to pay those taxes.