SEBRING — The idea to restore the Nan-ces-o-wee and turn it into modern apartments began in 2015, but the owner, Tony Collins, must first close on a loan so he can finance the transformation.

“We are moving forward, and we plan to close on the loan by mid-to-late April,” Collins said. “We plan to start construction soon afterwards.

“The loan has been approved, and we have a commitment letter,” Collins said. “We are getting all the final documents in place.

“I hope to start something on the Santa Rosa three to four months after getting started on construction on our Nan-ces-o-wee building,” Collins said. “We plan to get construction and pre-leasing started before moving onto the Santa Rosa.”

Collins purchased the Nan-ces-o-wee on March 12, 2015, and he has had challenges to find financing for the renovations.

Collins had approached the Sebring Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) for funds to help restore the historic building downtown, located across the street from Dee’s Place on North Ridgewood Drive.

However, funds from the CRA are reimbursable. Owners must make the improvements first and provide proof of renovations before the CRA disburses money. This system assures accountability, making sure that every penny spent by the CRA actually improves the downtown area.

Collins investigated his financing options to find the best offer. He told the CRA that he had one offer, but he wanted a better one. He found it, and now the project has taken a long stride toward completion.

“The redevelopment of the Nan-ces-o-wee hotel is a pivotal project for the CRA district,” Executive Director of the CRA Kristie Vazquez said. “Not only does it restore an important historic building, but it also repurposes it into an essential necessity for downtown development.

“A residential component is the missing link to culminate the resurgence of downtown,” she said. “The rental market for new apartments in Highlands County is non-existent at the moment.

“This project will supply the demand for the market, and at the same time provide downtown with the needed injection of residents to consume goods in the district,” she said.

“We are so grateful for Tony’s vision and persistence on this highly-anticipated project,” Vazquez said. “It will be the largest project the district has ever seen, and the CRA is proud to have played a part in making it a reality.”

Collins had trouble finding financing earlier, but as the housing market improved, so did his options. He asked the CRA board for an extension, and the board granted his request.

“I anticipate 12 months of construction,” he said. “It should be completed by early 2020. The Nan-ces-o-wee will be converted into 25 multi-family units.”

The apartment complex will have one- and two-bedroom apartments with a long list of modern amenities, including key fob entry, a security system with video surveillance, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, a workout room and a community area with Wi-Fi.

“I also anticipate allocating six to eight of the units for short-term professional apartments,” Collins said. “I plan to have up to four retail spaces on the first floor.

“We are looking at options to revisit the Santa Rosa and putting 41 additional units there,” he said.


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