City to finalize parameters for old library redevelopment
Commissioners are set to approve requirements for interested developers at Wednesday’s meeting
By Beth Kassab
Residential units combined with a home for arts and culture nonprofits are likely to take over the old city-owned Winter Park Library building based on a list of standards for redevelopment of the site up for consideration by the City Commission this week.
If approved, the Request for Proposal would be the second attempt in about a year by the city to solicit ideas for the building on New England Avenue that became vacant when the new Library and Events Center opened about two years ago.
Commissioners have expressed a desire to reuse the old building, but are also open to razing it if the right concept comes along.
Requirements in the draft RFP include: a maximum of four stories; preferred C-3 zoning, excluding restaurants and food halls; no residential units on the first floor; preservation of an oak tree on the property; only on-site parking; preference to arts, culture and nonprofit organizations and providing space for a traffic roundabout if one becomes needed as S.R. 426 undergoes safety changes.
The draft specifies that proposals will be scored on a variety of factors including financial benefit to the city through a “strong lease payment,” noting the city does not intend to contribute dollars to construction. The amount of community support built into each proposal as well as those submitted by businesses or organizations with a valid city business certificate and physical address in the city for at least one year can help provide proposals an edge, based on the draft scoring matrix.
At least six nonprofits, including the Winter Park Playhouse, the History Museum and the Sidewalk Art Festival, have already expressed an interest in securing space in the building.
Earlier this month, commissioners rejected two offers of land swaps for the building, opting to keep the building as a public asset in keeping with a sentiment strongly expressed by residents at public meetings.