Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Community Development Plan up for vote in Winter Park

One of the latest community projects in the Winter Park area, Ravaudage, and its Developer, Dan Bellows, is asking Winter Park leaders to establish a community development district for the remainder of the project.

Community Development Districts are a popular tool for financing development. 
The districts, known as CDDs, have become an extremely popular mechanism for financing development. A few of the successful CDDs in the area include The Villages, Baldwin Park, and Celebration.

The districts increase the tax base at no cost to municipal governments or citizens who don't live in the district. Those who move into the district pay assessments to the district to fund improvements. And after the developer completes the project and moves on, there's an entity in place — more powerful than any homeowners association — to deal with oversight and maintenance issues.

For developers, such as Bellows, the advantages include the ability to sell tax-free bonds and charge assessments.  This source of funding can lead to rapid infrastructure that might otherwise take years to build.

The 73-acre Ravaudage site at Lee Road and U.S. 17-92 currently has one tenant, Miller's Winter Park Ale House restaurant.  The Ravaudage project is envisioned to include 489 residential units, retail and office space, and a 320-room hotel.