Winter Park nixes Ravaudage Developer's $21M request

In many cases of commercial real estate development, developers will seek tax breaks, services in kind or even outright cash from local municipalities. The thinking goes that development is good for a communities because it provides jobs, boosts tax rolls and makes valuable services available to local residents.

Not everyone follows that school of thought, however.

Recently, authorities in Winter Park denied a request from a developer for $21 million in financial assistance for Ravaudage, a mixed-used development along Lee Road and U.S. Highway 17-92.

The developer's argument is that the current site is a blighted area that is not doing anyone any good, economically and socially speaking. He pointed out that he is willing to take a risk and try to make it something that would beneficial to the community, but said he wanted some economic help for the undertaking.

The Winter Park City Commission seemed to agree that improving the site was a worthy goal and expressed a willingess to explore certain financing options, but indicated it would not support the developer's proposed plan of returning half the property tax revenue collected, which would amount to somewhere around $21 million.

The mayor of Winter Park said he was thinking of providing assistance in the neighborhood of $2 tp $7 million over a five-year-span, not triple that amount over more than two decades.

Commercial real estate matters like this are of interest to us because a great many of our clients work in the field and we believe it is important to keep up-to-date and stay well-informed.

Source: The Orlando Sentinel, "Winter Park turns down request for $2 million to aid Ravaudge development," David Breen, May 24, 2013