The April 2016 issue of Southeast Real Estate Business included an article about the multifamily and commercial real estate markets in Winter Haven. The piece, authored by real estate strategist Jim Cooper, demonstrates the growth and expansion opportunities in this area. Read below for the full story.
New Commercial Projects, I-4 Corridor Growth Transforming Winter Haven
BY: Jim Cooper, Real Estate Strategist
Located to the west of Orlando, the city of Winter Haven is fulfilling the recent projections for the growth of the I-4 corridor between the Orlando and Tampa metro areas. Known as the “City of 100 Lakes,” Winter Haven has more than 50 miles of lakefront within its city limits and is undergoing a rapid transformation, proving the I-4 pundits correct.
Recent developments have attracted attention to the city and sparked new multifamily and commercial projects. These attractions include the completion of the CSX intermodal terminal, the leader for an 8.5 million-square-foot distribution center development as well as the opening of the newest member of the Florida University system, Florida Polytechnic, which focuses on STEM education and was designed by the noted architect Santiago Calatrava. Merlin Entertainment has also continued expansion of its Legoland resort (located within the city’s limits). Additionally, Inland Fiber and Data Park, a complex comprised of five city blocks, five buildings and more than a quarter-of-a-million square feet, has undergone a 200,000-square-foot expansion in the city’s downtown area, at the nexus of all major fiber optic network providers in Florida.
These powerful components have attracted national residential developers to capitalize on Winter Haven’s reasonable land prices and projected 3 to 5 percent population growth. Among the latest multifamily projects, Pinnacle Housing Group recently completed development of a 70-unit, mid-rise apartment complex, which was completely rented in its opening week. Jim Lentz, developer of the 11,000-acre Harmony, 10 miles south of Orlando in Kissimmee, has also recently acquired 300 acres in Winter Haven to develop up to 1,500 units of mixed, market rate housing and resort lodging. The possibility of developing market rate housing at 15 to 20 percent less than comparable housing in Tampa and Orlando, and satisfying the needs of a bedroom community as well as providing an urbanist lifestyle, is drawing great interest to the city.
One of Winter Haven’s newest multifamily developments is RainGarden Apartments. This AIA award winning nine-unit townhouse apartment project, designed by noted Miami architect Max Strang, is now fully occupied with rents in the $1.25 per square foot range. A similar apartment complex, in the contiguous downtown block, is currently in the pre-development phase with the expectation of achieving similar rental rates. Additionally, Six/Ten LLC, which owns approximately 400,000 square feet of mixed use assets in Winter Haven, has recently joint ventured with 100 Lakes Homes, LLC, an active local residential development group, to redevelop the 50-unit apartment complex Lake Shore Club, with plans to add an additional 25 units in the near future. Six/Ten has also contracted to acquire a downtown site and is reviewing development options for a 60 to 70-unit midrise apartment building.
Adding to this burst of new multifamily activity, the recent redevelopment of the city’s 1920s era downtown region has brought retail, banking and new office tenants who appreciate the vibrant atmosphere and walkable urban community. Businesses and entrepreneurs are taking notice of this shift and taking advantage of the increased foot traffic downtown. One example involves a once-dilapidated city block containing a 5,700-square-foot historic, industrial building that is being transformed to house Winter Haven’s first craft beer brewery.
This activity downtown has encouraged developer Tom Wolf Co, LLC to contract to acquire the 27,000-square-foot BB&T Bank building, located on 2.5 acres on Winter Haven’s Third Street, with plans to retrofit and reposition the space for professional offices. On Central Avenue, another 8,000-square-foot building has recently been leased to Polk County’s largest law firm and is currently being retrofitted. Activity of this sort has seen downtown office market rental rates increase during the past few years, approximately 25 percent reaching $18 NNN.
Further activity, including the announcement of a $55 million addition to Baycare’s Winter Haven hospital complex and continued growth of the Bond and Gessler Clinics, as well as the improving office occupancy, illustrates the need for quality market rate housing and is encouraging due diligence by outside developers.
The city’s growth can also be attributed to the advocacyefforts of Winter Haven City management, a very active local Economic Development Council, the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce and the leadership of Winter Haven Main Street. These groups are just a few of the numerous resources in place who have assisted and encouraged downtown development.
No longer a quiet 9 to 5 city, the vibrancy of a multitude of quality restaurants, fun and entertaining music venues and cultural draws, such as The Derry Down (Gram Parson’s original music club) and Theatre Winter Haven, have made Winter Haven an evening destination resulting in greater interest for downtown living and real estate opportunities.
About the author:
Jim Cooper has more than 50 years of real estate experience and has developed, owned and managed in excess of 10 million square feet of properties.
Just in time for the holidays, new retail shops are popping up in Downtown Winter Haven’s historic arcade building. Six/Ten, LLC, a developer of commercial and residential properties, has renovated and preserved the Arcade Building, located at 254 W Central Avenue, which was originally built in 1928.
The Arcade building is now fully occupied and home to a variety of retail tenants. Six/Ten recently completed a lease deal with Paint Along Studios, a professional art gallery by day and an open studio for anyone to paint at night. The studio relocated from Downtown Lakeland and chose this location because of its unique walkway plaza and excellent location.
“Downtown Winter Haven is a great retail destination for a business like ours. The quiet ‘hometown’ feel, mixed with an expressive ‘modern’ environment, is perfect for people looking to enjoy the arts,” said Jessica Guevara, Paint Along Studios’ resident artist.
Another business that recently relocated to the Arcade building is Lasater Flowers, a full-service flower shop specializing in contemporary floral design for everyday occasions and special events. Established in 1958, it is the longest-running flower shop in town. Owner Keira Lennox believes the new space combines the history of the Central Avenue Arcade with modern updates and contemporary design. The new space also presented an opportunity to add beer and wine to the shop’s offerings, as well as a fresh flower market, customized gift crates and unique retail.
“We love being right in the mix of what’s happening downtown,” said Lennox. “We have a variety of friendly merchants and restaurants that offer something for everyone.”
The Arcade building’s established tenants include a custom makeup studio, Perry Oakley Makeup Artistry, and an artisanal cheese market, The Cheese Room. Sherry Summers, owner of The Cheese Room, chose the Arcade building because of its proximity to the historic Ritz Theatre. Summers has been in the building since February 2014 and recently renewed her lease.
“We are proud to be a part of downtown,” said Summers. “The businesses are so good about supporting each other, and our monthly Main Street Winter Haven events bring us all together to promote downtown as an exciting retail and restaurant destination.”
The Arcade building features architecturally interesting elements such as an interior breezeway and wrought-iron entryways. The building was acquired by Six/Ten in 2012. For leasing information about the retail and office space opportunities downtown, please contact Chad Lennox at (863) 595-0237.
By: i4 Business Magazine
The Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects highlighted Downtown Winter Haven apartment building RainGarden at their annual awards gala. The apartment building’s Miami-based design firm, [Strang] Architecture, received the “Honor Award of Excellence” for their work on the project.
The RainGarden Apartments were completed last year and represent Downtown Winter Haven’s first multifamily development in over 25 years.
Max Strang, a Winter Haven native, designed the building one block from Central Avenue to continue the legacy of modern architecture in his hometown. In 2013 he received the Silver Medal for Design, the highest honor from the Miami chapter of the American Institute of Architects. RainGarden is just one of many residential projects Strang has designed.
The project was developed by Six/Ten LLC, a local residential and commercial real estate developer spearheading the economic and urban revitalization of Downtown Winter Haven.
“RainGarden puts residents within easy walking distance of parks, restaurants and shops, creating a worklive‐play environment downtown,” said Kerry Wilson, Six/Ten’s President. “We have only two units remaining for individuals seeking urban living at its finest.”
RainGarden features nine apartments with 1,600 square feet of living space, two car garages and private courtyards. For leasing information, please contact Chad Lennox at (863) 595-0237.
By: Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
After announcing plans to open a North American customer care office in Downtown Winter Haven earlier this year, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort has now started the process of annexing its Polk County property into the city of Winter Haven.
Legoland’s customer care center is located in Six/Ten, LLC’s Inland Fiber and Data Technology Park and is expected to bring more than 50 full time jobs to the area.
Six/Ten believes this annexation is further evidence of the company’s integration with Winter Haven. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the annexation process is expected to take about two months.
By: Orlando Sentinel
Two years after completing several murals in Downtown Winter Haven, Spanish artists David De La Mano and Pablo S. Herrero returned to the city to create two new works. The first, titled “The Calm,” is a massive piece which can be seen on the west side of Heartland Church, located at 225 Avenue B N.W. The second, titled the “Cycle,” was painted on the Mann building now under renovation and located next to the Ritz Theatre.
“Overall, we have received very positive feedback about the artwork. The pieces are thoughtful and provocative, and complement sculpture and other art work which is appearing in public and private spaces downtown,” said Bud Strang of Six/Ten, LLC, the company that owns both buildings where the murals are featured. “We truly enjoy working with these internationally-renowned artists and were happy to coax them back to Winter Haven.”
David De La Mano and Pablo S. Herrero’s work can be seen across the globe in Norway, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Taiwan, Paris, Spain, the UK and Florida. The artists were also the creators of several previous pieces in downtown Winter Haven, tucked away in alleyways and on less prominent walls. “The Calm”, meanwhile is over 60 feet long.
Heartland Church, Winter Haven’s largest church congregation, recently moved into its current downtown location. Now the mural gives interested locals and new visitors another reason to check out the newly constructed 34,000 square foot space.
”The mural project is a kind of on-going joint venture between our church and Six/Ten,” said Ed Kendrick, Lead Pastor of Heartland Church. “We intend for that wall to be the location of various artworks for many years to come.”
These paintings are part of a successful movement to revitalize the downtown area and attract even more businesses, residents and visitors. The recent addition nearby of the Outer Space Gallery, a joint project of the Arts Ensemble of Winter Haven, Polk State College and the Polk Museum of Art, has greatly contributed to this movement.