• Winter Garden project will allow room for more businesses to move in


    WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - City officials said space is so tight that the city has had to turn away a lot of potential new businesses.
    Channel 9's Racquel Asa got a look at how the city plans to fix the problem with a plan that transforms a vacant, rundown property on Plant Street.
    The property is near downtown and City Hall.
    Resident Jimmy Davidson said he is glad to see the city and developers working on getting something new to move into his neighborhood.
    He said is anything will be better than what has been on that rundown property.
    "Big change of what it was. They played loud music. Drugs been sold in there, too," Davidson said.
    "(It's) not the greatest-looking building. It's a dump," said Winter Garden City Manager Michael Bollhoefer, speaking about the property, which used to be an apartment complex.
    "(The city will) design this right so it's attractive and pulls people off the road," said Bollhoefer.
    Bollhoefer said the project will be the first major expansion beyond the city's downtown core.
    "We're turning away two to three leasable businesses a week because we have no leasable space. So the demand is there, and now it's time to meet that demand," said Bollhoefer.
    Once the building is done, developers told the city they plan to have a neighborhood market move in with a microbrewery, bread company and juice bar.
    It'll be a more than $3 million investment for the developers because it will require tearing the current buildings down.
    Bollhoefer said he expects the developers to start working on the property by the summer, with hopes of it being finished in about a year-and-a-half.
    The city also plans to put $300,000 into the project to building parking lots and by waiving impact fees for the developers.

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    Winter Garden project will allow room for more businesses to move in