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Apopka seeks to revive downtown with event plaza, apartment complex

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The City of Apopka and a developer are working on a proposal to build several apartment buildings surrounding an event plaza near Apopka’s train station to revitalize the city’s downtown.

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City Council members will consider approving the development plan Wednesday night, which would cover nearly three and a half acres of city-owned land a block away from City Hall.

The plan calls for up to 60 1- and 2-bedroom apartments spread across two different 3-story buildings, a 52,000 square foot plaza with a pavilion and restrooms, a 140-space parking lot and several bike racks. The complex would be aimed at workforce housing, which is sorely needed in the city, and would qualify under the state’s “Live Local Act.”

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The plaza would be used to hold events like food truck festivals, movie nights, farmer’s markets and live music to draw people to the area.

Long-term, the hope is that the plaza – plus the nearby train station, should the county eventually run a Sunrail line to the city – would provide a desperately needed anchor for a proper downtown to grow around.

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In its proposal, the developer, Standard Investments and Holdings, LLC, said the site was not suitable for a traditional mixed-use model as it stands today because of the lack of density in the area.

“There are several challenges that makes the site unpalatable for retail/commercial concepts that pay the rent needed to make this project financially viable,” company staff said.

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The developer will ask the city for assistance with the project because of the financial constraints of the site, documents reported. In return, the city would own and operate the plaza.

“We share the same vision with the City of Apopka and propose to develop a sustainable plan which truly transforms the area,” the developer said.

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