Stetson Seeks Proposals for Former Gas Station
Stetson University is seeking proposals to redevelop a former gas station at West Michigan Avenue and North Woodland Boulevard, and improve the university’s and DeLand’s downtown gateway.
The former BP gas station at 340 N. Woodland Blvd. sat vacant for about six years while the site was up for sale.
“We were hoping somebody would purchase it and make it look better,” said Bob Huth, Stetson’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “But that didn’t happen, so we got involved to make it happen.”
Since then, workers for Stetson have cleaned up the site, removed the old gas pumps, painted the building and put potted plants outside. The university now is requesting proposals from all interested parties to lease the property. The proposals are due on Dec. 1, 2016.
DeLand City Manager Michael Pleus said city residents had talked to him about the need to clean up the property ever since he joined the city 16 years ago. City officials were “very excited” when Stetson purchased it and are open to proposals to redevelop it, he said.
“We’re simply looking for it to improve the aesthetics of that corridor,” Pleus said. “It’s an important part of the downtown area.”
A Selection Committee, made up of Stetson and city officials, college students and downtown business leaders, will select three finalists from the proposals in mid-December. The finalists will make presentations in January 2017 to the Selection Committee and the committee’s top pick will be notified on Jan. 20, according to the request for proposal.
The property has “immediate access to (Stetson’s) approximately 3,500 students and 600 faculty and staff members as well as to DeLand’s vibrant downtown area,” according to the request.
Stetson will install a new heating and air-conditioning system, replace the roof, and will apply up to $50,000 toward an attached restroom. The new tenant would be responsible for interior improvements and would lease the building for five years, the request says.
Possible uses for the site run the gamut from a Stetson Department renting the space to a coffee shop or deli.
Wayne Carter, executive director of the downtown MainStreet DeLand association, said he heard a suggestion to use the site as a business incubator that could tie into Stetson’s School of Business Administration across the street. He, too, is pleased that Stetson now owns the property.
“It immediately looked better,” said Carter. “Everybody was like, whew, finally.”