In the News: Officials break ground on first downtown residential development in 10 years

JULY 8-11, 2020

Growth Explosion to Continue with Mixed-Use Concept Adjacent to Sanford's 'Famous L'

By Steve Paradis Herald Staff

Officials broke ground on the San Leon development at the corner of 2nd Street and Sanford Avenue early Tuesday, the first downtown residential building in more than a decade.

Tuesday marked almost three years to the day that they closed on the site, said project manager Daniel R. Matthews, as he stood at a podium flanked by two front loaders and the American flag. In front of him was a mound of dirt with a handful of golden shovels at the ready.

Matthews told a group of city and project officials that he thought it would take about six months to get the residential building with commercial areas going.

He told the Herald that a series of delays happened as they tried to get the project going. The city helped with parking and financial issues during that time.

"It is the newest residential building in the core of downtown Sanford in years," he said.

Matthews said they chose the site because of its proximity at the edge of the Sanford Avenue streetscape and within yards of the city's catalyst site called Heritage Park.

The city's Community Redevelopment Agency helped answer some of the project's challenges. The biggest was a tax incentive approved by the city June 8.

The project received a 100% tax rebate incentive for the first five years. The incentive is at the discretion of the City Commission to encourage development in Sanford.

"It is so exciting," David said Tuesday morning. "The project shows that Sanford is not only a destination for fun, but to live in the downtown area."

Sanford Mayor Art Woodruff, new District 1 Commissioner Sheena Britton, District 2 Commissioner Kerry Wiggins Sr. and City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. were all on hand for the groundbreaking Tuesday.

Also attending were members of Ovida Construction Group of Oviedo, which is the contractor building the project, and Citizens Bank, which is providing the financing for the operation.