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Orange Blossom Groves sale pending
Potential owners get initial approval to build 53 single-family homes
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Image courtesy of NANCY BARLOW
The property at 5800 Seminole Blvd., which was once home to Orange Blossom Groves, founded by Al Repetto in 1946, has a potential buyer. If the development proceeds, 53 single-family homes will be built on the property.
SEMINOLE – The property at 5800 Seminole Blvd., once home to the iconic Orange Blossom Groves, may be purchased by Seminole Groves Land Holdings LLC.

The Seminole City Council gave potential developers the initial go-ahead for their plan to build 53 single-family, detached homes on the land during a July 22 public hearing.

The council also gave tentative approval for a zoning and land use change for the commercial portion of the property, where Florida Citrus Country currently leases space and operates on a seasonal basis.

A second public hearing, which will take place in either October or November, must be held before the council can give official approval to the project and land use change. Once approved, the plans will head to the county and the state for consideration of the developer’s request to amend zoning and land use for the property.

According to the Realtor, Sandy Hartmann and Associates, a contract in pending on the sale of the property, but contingencies will have to be met before the developer will actually close on the property. Hartmann said there are positive signs that the sale will happen, probably in February 2015. The listing price is $2.2 million. Anyone with interest in the property can call Hartmann at 398-2310.

If the development proceeds, it will likely be a private, walled community, according to the Realtor. Two-story Craftsman-style homes will be built by KB Home, the company behind The Cove at Bay Pines. The homes will be priced between $300,000 and $400,000, said Marcus Vernon, a Clearwater attorney and engineer representing the Repetto family, who is selling the property, and Seminole Groves. He’s also a principal in the purchasing group buying the property.

“They’ll be a similar or better product than what they’re doing at Bay Pines,” he said.

Mayor Leslie Waters said she’s “happy such a nice project is replacing the retail store” but asked if the residential development would include any references to Orange Blossom Groves.

“The Repetto family has been here for many, many years and we value the Repetto family very much,” she said. “We appreciate you putting together such a great project, but it was such a … landmark in the community. So I was just wondering if there was going to be anything at the entranceway.”

Vernon acknowledged Orange Blossom Groves’ importance in Seminole, and said the streets within the development hadn’t been named yet and could possibly be a place to honor the property’s history.

Al Repetto opened Orange Blossom Groves on Seminole Boulevard in 1946 with his sister, Edwina, and her husband, Charles “Bud” Hutchison. At the time, this land was considered part of Largo. They eventually expanded and built a second storefront on U.S. 19 in Largo in the early 1950s. Orange Blossom Groves was forced to shut its doors in 2005, after the family’s 270-acre grove in Ruskin succumbed to citrus canker.

Repetto passed away in July 2012, and his family put the property on the market in June 2013. Totaling 9.2 acres and consisting of six parcels of land, it was listed at $2.9 million.

Second revision.
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