Two historic buildings in the heart of the city could become a catalyst for attracting new life into downtown Zephyrhills.
City officials are seeking proposals from potential tenants for The Captain Jeffries House and The Carriage House — structures that have undergone relatively recent makeovers.
“The city seeks an overall adaptive reuse of these historic buildings for the economic benefit of the area,” according to the city’s Request for Proposal (RFP).
In choosing the tenant, the city will consider the proposal’s “ability to provide an attraction or anchor” in downtown that will entice both residents and visitors alike, the RFP adds.
The document provides insight into the city’s vision for the potential of these historic buildings.
“The city believes that retail, restaurant operations are appropriate, and a feasible business opportunity, since the structures are located in the downtown Zephyrhills shopping district, which includes City Hall, the City Library, along with multiple retail shops and a microbrewery,” the RFP notes.
A city news release observes: “Both buildings are a short walk to the popular Zephyrhills Brewing Company, Your Turn Board Game Cafe, and Gentlemen’s Quarters Barber Shop.”
To encourage the redevelopment, the city may offer incentives such as zero lease payment for a period of time and assistance with remodeling costs to business owners who also invest in the property and will drive foot traffic to downtown, the city news release says.
Community Redevelopment Agency Director Gail Hamilton provides some background in the release.
“The downtown district has been evolving over the past few years into an area that draws our community members, and even people who don’t live in Zephyrhills, to it,” Hamilton says, in the release. “It’s got a very “Main Street” vibe, with the brick sidewalks, music throughout, string lights, and businesses that people enjoy frequenting. We are looking for businesses that will continue to add to the walkability and excitement of our downtown.”
The Captain Jeffries House, at 38537 Fifth Ave., is named after the city’s founder, Captain H.B. Jeffries, who established Zephyrhills as a retirement area for old Union soldiers.
The 2,365-square-foot structure, built in 1912, was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 29, 1995.
In addition to the interior space, it has a 600-square-foot wraparound porch. It has original hardwood floors, windows, light fixtures, a fireplace and stained glass windows.
Work completed in 2016 included plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC).
Some maintenance issues remain, which will be addressed by the city, in partnership with the new tenant. The idea is to avoid having to redo that work.
The Carriage House at 5323 Ninth St., was built in 1940. It is a two-story structure of 1,320 square feet, including a balcony on the second floor. It has restored original windows and folding garage doors.
The building has a one-bedroom apartment, with a kitchen and bathroom on the second floor, which has its own entrance.
New plumbing, electrical and HVAC work was completed in the structure during 2020.
The city’s RFP offers guidance to those seeking to lease these unique spaces.
“The city will evaluate proposals that offer further rehabilitation or reuse of the buildings in a new way that attracts people to downtown Zephyrhills.
“Innovative leasing proposals are welcomed.
“Proposals should be persuasive as to their feasibility and should reflect a realistic understanding of the building and its value,” the document says.
The deadline for proposals is 11 a.m., on Aug. 16.
An evaluation team will rank the proposals. The final selection will be determined by the Zephyrhills City Council, expected around mid-September.
Lease dates could begin as early as Oct. 1.
Published August 04, 2021