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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Winter Park city commissioners weigh effects of purchasing property that includes Austin's Coffee, Vine & Forks

Posted By on Tue, Jun 8, 2021 at 2:48 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JESSICA BRYCE YOUNG
  • Photo by Jessica Bryce Young

Earlier reports on the future of Austin's Coffee seemed grim. The Winter Park City Commission looked determined to purchase the stretch of Fairbanks Avenue on which the long-running shop sits and raze it to make way for a traffic lane.

However, it appears the commission are pumping the brakes a little, as they are worried about their obligations as landlords to the properties that have outstanding leases on the lots.



At a recent meeting of the commission, city officials expressed doubts over the management of the property in the immediate future.

“We have not sent anybody into these facilities to see if there are code issues. I’ve heard anecdotally that there are in some of them,” City Manager Randy Knight shared at the meeting. “Some of them could look a lot better.” (Oh, the shade.)

The agenda for the meeting noted that Winter Park has little to no experience being the landlord of a restaurant.

"City staff does not have any significant experience in being a landlord in the traditional sense of that term," it said, before going into the potential problems of traditional relations between landlord and tenant. "The city would have the public relations exposure anytime there is a tenant/landlord conflict."

The commissioners have asked city officials to look into their options with regards to being a landlord of the current properties and whether they could terminate leases early if they purchased the buildings. The longest-running lease currently on the property runs through 2025, according to the Orlando Sentinel.


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