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Seminole Community Center moves forward
Council approves contracts with Biltmore Construction for reconstruction of former City Hall building
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Image courtesy of JEREMY HOCKENBURY
A rendering of the new Community Center at Seminole City Park. The former City Hall building will be reconstructed and turned into a multi-use facility. The project will be paid for with Penny for Pinellas funds.
SEMINOLE – At its May 13 meeting, the City Council authorized City Manager Frank Edmunds to enter into a construction manager (at risk) agreement with Biltmore Construction for the reconstruction of the former City Hall building at Seminole City Park into a multi-use Community Center.

The Council also established a guaranteed maximum price for the project – $2,475,882 – which will be paid for with Penny for Pinellas funds.

Edmunds said the city already has $1 million in Penny for Pinellas funds on hand to pay for the Community Center. The balance, nearly $1.5 million, will likely be funded through a bond from the Florida League of Cities, with either a five- or 10-year term, which will be paid off using future Penny money. Past city projects have been funded in this manner, he said.

“There really is no local general fund tax dollars” being used, he said. “The debt will not be paid for with local tax dollars.”

The city also has worked with Biltmore before. The company built the city’s Public Works building and renovated Fire Station 30.

The new Community Center will include rental banquet space with a seating capacity of 250 and a fully equipped commercial kitchen, Edmunds said. It’ll be managed by the city’s Recreation Division and will be available for public use.

A significant portion of the facility will be given to the Seminole Historical Society to open a museum and gift shop. The remainder of the space will be used for recreational activities, Public Works and storage.

The building was built in the mid-1970s. Much of the eastern portion of the building – nearly 50 percent of the entire structure – was added onto the original building, said Edmunds. This portion will house the banquet room, he said. Because it currently has a number of pillars in the middle of the space, that part of the building will be demolished and rebuilt from scratch without the posts to create more open space.

“I really look forward to this being renovated,” said Mayor Leslie Waters.

In other action items, the council also gave final approval of a new two-story medical office building on the southwest corner of Park Boulevard and Park Street.

The council gave preliminary approval to the $1.5 million development, which will be constructed by All Care R&R Holdings LLC, at its April 22 meeting. It will be built on the site of a former Sunoco gas station, which will be torn down and replaced with a state-of-the-art office building. Parking will be located in the back of the building, with a focus on extensive landscaping along the front that will include canopy trees.

“It’s a nice, attractive-looking building,” said Mark Ely, the city’s community development director.

At the April 22 meeting, Mayor Waters expressed excitement that this project will revive what is currently “a blighted, ugly corner.”
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