Winter Park city commissioners weigh effects of purchasing property that includes Austin's Coffee, Vine & Forks


  • Photo by Jessica Bryce Young

Earlier reports on the future of Austin's Coffee seemed grim. The Winter Park City Commission looked determined to purchase the stretch of Fairbanks Avenue on which the long-running shop sits and raze it to make way for a traffic lane.

However, it appears the commission are pumping the brakes a little, as they are worried about their obligations as landlords to the properties that have outstanding leases on the lots.

At a recent meeting of the commission, city officials expressed doubts over the management of the property in the immediate future.

“We have not sent anybody into these facilities to see if there are code issues. I’ve heard anecdotally that there are in some of them,” City Manager Randy Knight shared at the meeting. “Some of them could look a lot better.” (Oh, the shade.)

The agenda for the meeting noted that Winter Park has little to no experience being the landlord of a restaurant.

"City staff does not have any significant experience in being a landlord in the traditional sense of that term," it said, before going into the potential problems of traditional relations between landlord and tenant. "The city would have the public relations exposure anytime there is a tenant/landlord conflict."

The commissioners have asked city officials to look into their options with regards to being a landlord of the current properties and whether they could terminate leases early if they purchased the buildings. The longest-running lease currently on the property runs through 2025, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.