City of Winter Park Commissioners Assess Effects of Buying Property That Includes Austin’s Coffee, Vine & Forks | Food News | Orlando

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  • Photo by Jessica Bryce Young

Previous reports on the future of Austin’s Coffee seemed bleak. The Winter Park City Commission seemed determined to buy the stretch of Fairbanks Avenue on which the longtime store sits and raze it to make way for a thoroughfare.

However, it seems that the commission is holding back a little, because it is worried about its obligations as owners of the properties that have current leases on the lots.

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

“We haven’t sent anyone to these facilities to see if there are any code issues. I heard anecdotally that there was in some of them,” City Manager Randy Knight said at the meeting. “Some of them could be much better.” (Oh, the shadow.)

The meeting agenda stated that Winter Park had little to no experience as a restaurant owner.

“City staff don’t have significant experience as a landlord in the traditional sense of that term,” he said, before addressing potential issues with traditional landlord-tenant relationships. “The city would be exposed to public relations whenever there was a tenant/landlord dispute.”

The commissioners asked city officials to consider their options for ownership of the current properties and whether they could terminate the leases early if they purchased the buildings. The oldest lease currently on the property runs until 2025, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

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