With a 35,000-square-foot former library sitting empty in the heart of its downtown district, the city of Winter Park invited the business sector to bring forward redevelopment ideas for the space.
Hoping to see the old building with limited parking reimagined into something else — like a co-working hub, small retail or food hall — the city put out a request for proposals, giving interested parties a chance to tour the city-owned, three-story structure at 460 E. New England Avenue and a month to place bids detailing their vision.
By the time the solicitation process closed at 2 p.m. Thursday, the city had received just one proposal — much to the surprise of Mayor Phil Anderson.
“Wow,” Anderson told GrowthSpotter upon hearing the news. “I was hopeful that we would get more proposals but we will see what this proposal has in mind and we will decide how to go forward.”
But the public won’t be able to see what the bid entails just yet. Jennifer Maier, the city’s procurement manager, said the bids are exempt from state’s public record laws for at least 30 days following the closure of the solicitation period.
It’s up to the five-member city commission to decide if it wants to give the green light to the lone contender — a team consisting of Harbert Realty Services, general contracting company Brasfield & Gorrie LLC and architecture firm HuntonBrady Architects — or move in another direction, such as starting the bidding process over to see if a second go-around yields more results.
Before it gets to commission though, a five-member advisory committee they appointed to assist with this process will give its recommendation. The committee’s first meeting is scheduled for June 30 at 10 a.m. inside City Hall.
Damien Madsen, senior vice president and managing director of Harbert Realty Group, declined to give specifics on the proposal Thursday afternoon, but was also shocked to learn that his company’s bid was the only one submitted for the library property.
“Are you kidding me?” he told GrowthSpotter.