City nears deal to sell old jail

The old jail in downtown Sanford could be open for tenants by next summer.

The city of Sanford is expected to finalize a deal to sell property at 113 S. Palmetto Ave. tonight when City commissioners vote on the development agreement with TCD & Associates, LLC. The company is a partnership between Philco Construction and Linn Engineering.

The deal calls for TCD to pay $58,500 for the building, which has been vacant for years and needs massive rehabilitation. The structure is currently appraised at $39,978.

This is what the old jail looks like now. Above is what is could look like if the city agrees to sell the building to TCD & Associates LLC.
This is what the old jail looks like now. Above is what is could look like if the city agrees to sell the building to TCD & Associates LLC.

Also, the deal calls for TCD to restore the building’s brick facade and have the building occupied by 2017.

Philco Construction President Tom Phillips said meeting the 2017 deadline will not be an issue. He has laid out an aggressive rehabilitation timeline that could have the building ready for occupancy within six months.

“That would be our dream to have it ready that quick,” said Phillips. “It may take us a little longer than that, but not much longer.”

Phillips says the plan is to begin advertising the space as the rehab phase is going through the permit process. He is looking for a quality restaurant to occupy all or part of the 5,764-square-foot space. Any space not used by a restaurant would be custom built for professional offices.

Phillips said he is in discussions with restaurants in downtown Orlando to relocate to the Sanford property. He characterized the talks as “very preliminary.”

Philco and Linn have experience in rehab mean old buildings. The two firms partnered to restore the 3,656-square-foot building at 210 S. Sanford Ave. that is home to Bob Duncan’s Allstate Insurance office. The building recently won a historic preservation award.

In addition to the restoration work, Philco has experience building retail, office and hospitality properties throughout the Southeast.

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.

The building is owned by the city of Sanford, which condemned the building in 2005 when the roof collapsed. The city acquired the building in 2008 after the owner refused to repair the roof and racked up more than $100,000 in fines. The city did repair the roof, but the building still needs substantial work and has no plumbing or electrical service.

– by Dan Ping


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