Lee Road Site Gets a Makeover

Breast Reduction for Winter Park

At 11:30 on the morning of February 11, a big yellow crane flattened the iconic breast-shaped roofs of the building at 2600 Lee Road formerly known as the Booby Trap. In a unanimous vote December 8, 2014, the Commission voted to purchase the property for $990,000 — a premium above the appraised value of $830,000. The deal closed shortly thereafter on January 28, 2015.

Former Booby Trap Up for Sale

As the double domed-shaped roofs were falling, Mayor Kenneth Bradley erected a For Sale sign and the property went on the market for $1 Million.

Recently known as Club Rio, the former Booby Trap has gone the way of other local watering holes such as Tom & Jerry’s and the Red Fox at the Mt. Vernon Inn.  This is part of a larger effort by the City to “clean up” the Lee Road gateway into Winter Park.

In a Media Alert, the stated rationale for purchasing this property was to “eliminate significant . . . police/criminal activity, eliminate repeated code violations . . . and improve one of the city’s main gateways.”

Source of Drug, Criminal Activity

As the former den of iniquity came down, Mayor Kenneth Bradley noted that while there might be some nostalgia for what he called an “historic landmark,” the City bought the building “because it’s been a source of tremendous crime in our city and drug activity.”

Bradley said the City has already received expressions of interest in the property and that its commercial zoning would make it a good site for an office or restaurant. Bradley said the City was getting rid of an “eyesore” and was making an important investment that will improve the area. The properties immediately east of the Booby Trap, at 2540 Lee Road and 2566 Lee Road, are owned by Bradley’s employer, Florida Hospital.

“Off the Record,” a Few Neighbors Will Miss It

Mike Gottlieb, a neighbor who rode his bike to witness the demolition, remarked that this was a sad day for him. “Now I won’t be able to tell people how to find my house,” he said.

Another bystander, Winter Park resident Hilary Blessler, objected to the cost paid by the city, noting that money might be better used for trees or schools. Another bystander, who requested his name be withheld, said, “This will improve our neighborhood and raise our property values but,” he said, referring to the old club, “off the record, it was a hell of a lot of fun.”





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    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

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