Lake Wales investors buy Friedlander building with plans for apartments and restaurant

The historic Friedlander department store building was purchased by Lake Wales investor Tammy James and her husband Stephen James. The building at 101 East Park is at the corner of Park Avenue and First Street. It was the location of True Value Hardware until 2019, but has been vacant since then.

“We are excited about the changes happening downtown,” said Tammy James. “With (new restaurants) Wales Point, Melanie’s, and now an ice cream parlor, and The Ranch, it’s coming to life. We want to support that effort. It could be a ‘foodie’ corner.”

“We believe in downtown,” added her husband James. “We believe that in cooperation with the city and other investors, we can make Lake Wales a vibrant place.”

The couple purchased the building with the intention of “creating more downtown living space”, according to Stephen. The two-and-a-half-story building once had several units upstairs, but this part of the building has been vacant for many years.

The building was built in the 1930s as a department store at the end of the Great Depression. “It’s one of the only Art Deco buildings in the city centre. We don’t know what the original colors were and there are no color photographs from that era,” Stephen said. “We’re investors, but we’re not rich, so we’re going to put some ‘sweat equity’ into this project. It’s a major step for us. We’d like to bring out that corner,” he said. declared.

“We think the building and the town center have a lot of potential,” said Stephen James, indicating that they intend to “reuse” the interior of the building while bringing the exterior back to its original beauty. origin. They retained the services of local architect Scott Crews of Parlier + Crews Architects to lead the rehabilitation.

“We plan to hire local people wherever possible,” Stephen said.

Robert Connors

The ground floor of the Friedlander building once featured a mezzanine, which will be unmasked as part of the building’s renovation.

The structure sits on the corner of two streets that will be completely redesigned as part of the $18 million Lake Wales Connected plan, which is being funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency using tax increment funding. The design provides for wide sidewalks that can accommodate outdoor dining and a lush, pedestrian-friendly atmosphere.

ARC has been a success story for Lake Wales and is on the verge of making major infrastructure investments in the town centre. This investment is expected to continue the upward trend in downtown property values. The need for more residential space downtown was cited in the Connected plan, created by Dover Kohl and Partners, as one of the keys to reinvigorating the downtown core.

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