Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Orange Blossom Groves site, home of fruit and kitsch, for sale

This vintage postcard shows the original Orange Blossom Groves in its prime. The 60-year enterprise grew into a multimillion-dollar operation that had great appeal to locals and tourists alike. 
Co-founder Al Repetto died in July. His daughters have decided to sell the 9.2 acres, of which 7 acres is zoned residential.

Courtesy of Al Repetto

This vintage postcard shows the original Orange Blossom Groves in its prime. The 60-year enterprise grew into a multimillion-dollar operation that had great appeal to locals and tourists alike. Co-founder Al Repetto died in July. His daughters have decided to sell the 9.2 acres, of which 7 acres is zoned residential.

SEMINOLE — One of the last remaining Pinellas County landmarks from the Florida of tourists and kitsch is on the market.

The former Orange Blossom Groves is for sale for $2.9 million for about 9.2 acres.

That includes five commercially zoned parcels totaling about 2.2 acres fronting the road at 5800 Seminole Blvd. The remaining 7 acres on the west side of the site is zoned residential.

Residents and tourists alike know the commercial portion of the property as the place where Al Repetto and a brother-in-law opened a business in 1946 selling oranges, fresh juice and orange ice cream. That business eventually grew into a multimillion-dollar-a-year operation with 350 employees and a second store in on U.S. 19 at Belleair Road in Clearwater.

The residential portion is undeveloped and contains the remains of one of the orange groves that Repetto used to supply his stores.

For about 60 years, Orange Blossom Groves, one of the biggest in the state, was a major draw for locals and tourists alike.

"It's historically important," said Sandy Hartmann, who is handling the sale of the property. "It's just one of the last pieces (of Old Florida). I think the history of it is the important part for locals."

But change happens, even if it's unwelcome, she said.

Tourists stopped shipping oranges up North. Citrus canker wiped out thousands of trees. Repetto, who had resisted the changes, gave in and retired. The Clearwater property was sold. Repetto died in July, and the Seminole property went to his daughters, who have decided to sell.

"It's just a family decision," Hartmann said.

Repetto's daughter Sandy Miller could not be reached for comment.

Hartmann said potential buyers have a choice: Purchase the entire 9.2 acres or take either the commercial or residential portion alone. The commercial land is $1.35 million; the residential property, $1.55 million.

The commercial parcel contains a 21,400-square-foot building with an office and a store. It's currently leased by Florida Citrus Country, based in Orlando.

"They would love to stay there," Hartmann said.

The residential portion is open for development. Under Seminole rules, up to 48 single-family detached homes would be allowed, said Mark Ely, head of Seminole's development department.

Ely said several potential buyers have contacted him about the city's flexibility in developing the land. Seminole, he said, would be open to negotiating a development agreement that could alter lot size and perhaps increase density. But the city "would not be supportive of rezoning the property to multifamily."

Anne Lindberg can be reached at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450.

Orange Blossom Groves site, home of fruit and kitsch, for sale 06/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 14, 2013 3:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017

    Blogs

    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  4. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  5. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.