OAO Board approves plans for office building next to Seven Oaks Park
The city tried to buy the parcel along Orange Avenue and Denning Drive that was owned by Bank OZK, but lost out to a warehouse developer
Jan. 18, 2024
By Beth Kassab
The Orange Avenue Overlay Appearance Review Advisory Board considered plans for one of the most talked about properties in Winter Park last year — the wedge-shaped parcel that city commissioners attempted multiple times to purchase to add on to Seven Oaks Park.
The property was owned by Bank OZK and after the city’s offers were rebuffed, the vacant land was sold to warehouse developer and Winter Park resident Steven McCraney, who wants to build his company’s headquarters there.
McCraney spoke at the meeting and said he was initially working with Bank OZK to develop the property jointly — a plan that started 18 months ago, long before the city made its first offer last year.
“They decided they wanted to sell it at kind of the last minute and we were glad to be the group they decided to sell it to,” he said.
He said he’s excited about the project and expects it to “raise the bar” in the new special Orange Avenue Overlay area, which has special zoning and development standards designed to improve pedestrian access and architectural quality in the area near Orange Avenue and U.S. Highway 17-92.
The board made several recommendations for the development such as planting oak trees rather than palm trees along the main corridors for extra shade. Ultimately, they recommended approval by a 3-0 vote. Brian Canin, Tonya Mellen and Wade Miller voted in favor. Andrew Krecicki recused himself from the vote because he works for HuntonBrady Architects, which is involved in the McCraney project.