60-room boutique hotel proposed in downtown Sanford

City Commission, Historic Preservation Board still need to approve plans

SANFORD, Fla. – City leaders in Sanford are considering a project that would bring a four-story boutique hotel and townhomes to downtown Sanford.

The greenspace on West First Street sits empty for now, but developer Ron Semans sees a property filled with possibility.

“We absolutely feel there is a need,” Semans said.

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Semans is the vice president of First Street Station. He said they plan to build a 60-room boutique hotel and 32 townhomes on the land. He said the total project will cost $15 million.

Semans said downtown Sanford is booming with opportunity, adding there are several restaurants, bars and shops and visitors need a place to stay.

“There’s no place for people having weddings to stay downtown. We have a lot of sporting events where people would like to come downtown, enjoy downtown while they’re here for tournaments,” he said.

A rendering of a boutique hotel that could  be coming to downtown Sanford.
A rendering of a boutique hotel that could be coming to downtown Sanford. (Courtesy First Street Station)

Semans said they are looking to Sanford’s past for the theme of the hotel. They are designing it based on the old train station that used to be on the property.

“We’ll have photos that were representative of the time,” he said.

Bob Turk is the city’s director of economic development. He said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, development is bouncing back. He said there are several projects in the works across the city.

“Things are coming back. We see it as turning around,” Turk said. “We think it’s a great use for that property, great location, so we think it’s going to be a reality sooner or later.”

The project will be presented to the city commission for its second reading on Monday. The Historic Preservation Board must also approve the plans.

Semans said he is hopeful. He adds even though the hotel industry is still recovering from the pandemic, he believes this is a sign of good things to come.

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