Tropical Realty building to be home to produce stand, apartment

FELLSMERE — The owner of the Tropical Realty building on County Road 512 expects an easier time trying to lease the space there now that the site has been annexed into the City of Fellsmere.

“I always felt like we’re in the city,” said owner Kenneth Chapin, so it “seemed like a likely thing to do.”

With the annexation, Chapin said he would be able to offer retail space instead of the county-mandated office space, which allows him greater flexibility in finding tenants.

“We’re very happy to have him in the city,” City Manager Jason Nunemaker said during a recent council meeting. “It’s a good addition to the city.”

Chapin said that he hopes to have the building fixed up and ready to open with a new tenant by the first of January.

“It’s really beginning to take shape,” he said.

Along with offering retail possibilities on the first floor of the building, a 2-bed/1-bath apartment will be available for rent.

Chapin and his wife, Diane, purchased the building, located at 12645/12665 County Road 512 in 2005 with plans to revamp and sell it. Shortly after, though, the real estate market dropped out, making it difficult for the Chapins to find potential tenants.

“We still believe it’s a good investment,” Chapin said of the city, noting that the economy won’t remain the same forever.

The timeline for reopening the building hinges on when the city is able to hook up water to the site. The city has hired engineering firm Culpepper & Terpening Inc. to perform the work.

Anyone interested in leasing the apartment or purchasing the building is asked to contact Kenneth Chapin by calling (772) 473-1392.

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