SEBRING — David Leidel, chair of the Sebring Community Redevelopment Agency, provided Highlands News-Sun with some community updates about development around town. He is continuing to push forward with all plans for the downtown area, and is optimistic about the future of Sebring even as some projects appear slow going. Nan-Ces-O-Wee, the old Wachovia bank on Ridgewood Road, and the “Circle,” building plans are all still in the works.
“There is no new progress on the Nan,” Leidel said. “The developer is still seeking conventional financing, but has not secured financing that has acceptable terms.
“He is continuing to find a suitable loan.”
Development for the Nan-Ces-O-Wee is slated to continue, but Leidel said the developer isn’t sure which way to proceed — which projects to couple or which items to let stand alone. Leidel didn’t know of any definite plans as of yet.
“Mr. (Tony) Collins will decide if he can develop both the Nan and Santa Rosa as one project or if he has to do them separately,” Leidel said. “With the uncertainty of his financing, he’s not made any definite plans.”
Leidel said he routinely speaks on the phone with Collins about his progress.
As far as any expections on the old Wachovia bank building on Ridgewood, Leidel said the developer is currently deciding how to move forward on that, as well. There are still some things left to do. Kristie Vazquez, CRA executive director, said she had some additional news to impart about the CRA purchase, however.
“City Council had a feasibility study conducted to evaluate options for redeveloping the former bank building, including relocating City Hall there,” Vazquez said. “The results of the study will be presented by an engineer to the City Council.”
“The Cool (Engineering) report is complete,” said City Council member Charlie Lowrance. “The update on the North Ridgewood bank building is in our schedule.”
Leidel also spoke at length about his concerns for overall redevelopment around town and why it seems projects take so much effort to maneuver. He said the problems with moving forward on so many multiple fronts originates with banks and funding.
“The biggest problem we have with our resident development is that when banks look at the ‘comps’ in our county, they don’t see an ability for a multifamily development,” Leidel said. “The cost of construction and developer profit could make rent amounts too high.
“That is probably the biggest obstacle, but I’m optimistic we’ll get there.”
Leidel said building work along The Circle, will be completed June 24.
City Council will meet June 26.