The city of Sanford is asking for proposals to purchase and redevelop a city-owned property – and former county jail – in the heart of downtown.

The building recently drew attention when the owners of Lonnie’s Fusion Cuisine expressed interest in purchasing the building to move their Lake Mary restaurant to Sanford (Lake Mary restaurant eyes downtown Sanford).

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In the early 1900s, the building at 113 S. Palmetto Ave. operated as a livery.
Because the building is owned by the city, bids for the property must be excepted from all interested parties. Bids will be accepted until July 30.

The city has set a minimum bid of $53,000 for the property, in part because the building needs substantial renovation, and the building has sat vacant for years. The city not only wants to put the property back on the tax rolls, officials also want the new owner to contribute to the growing downtown economy.

In fact, the bid documents (pdf document here) specifically state proposals must stimulate economic activity.Additionally, city officials want the building ready for occupancy by the end of 2017.

The 5,763-square-foot building is located at 113 S. Palmetto Ave. (Gmap), an area of downtown that is seeing several redevelopment projections that include a new space for Rabbitfoot Records and Coffee Shop, as well as a build-out of a new brewery and tasting room (“Inner Compass Brewing Co. plans fall 2015 opening“).

From 1913 to 1959, the building served as the Seminole County jail.
From 1913 to 1959, the building served as the Seminole County jail.
The building, often referred to as the “old jail,” was built in 1890 by William J. Hill, who ran the first hardware store in Sanford. (Mr. Hill is also the great grandfather of recently retired Sanford policeman Bill Crapps.)When it opened the building housed a blacksmith and wagon shop. From 1904 through 1913 the building was used for stables operated by E.E. Brady.

When Seminole County was created from north Orange County in 1913, the new county purchased the building and operated it as the county jail until 1959. The county health department moved into the building when the jail was relocated, after which the space became part of the Sanford Dry Cleaners.

– by Dan Ping

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