What do you want to see at the Eli Witt Cigar Co. in Downtown Lakeland?


Rendering via Straughn Trout Architects

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No butts about it. The 95-year-old Gore Building in Downtown Lakeland (238 N. Massachusetts Ave.) — that once housed the Eli Witt Cigar Co. in the 1940s — may be getting new life breathed into it by local entrepreneurs.

The vision? A revamp of the space both externally and internally, opening up the two-stories of the 7,000+ square feet of the interior to include offices, restaurants, residential use + tenants, all while paying homage to the cigar company’s past.

While the building currently boasts Mediterranean-inspired, 20th-century terracotta tiles, several of the larger changes to the space involve:

  • Replacing the hipped roof, with a flat canopy roof — and a potential rooftop patio.
  • A new aluminum storefront + outdoor dining space
  • Adding on more parking spaces, accessible through Trader’s Alley
  • Outside signage, featuring cigar-themes shapes

To honor its place in the past, space will don the name, the Eli Witt Cigar Co. — as it housed a wholesale warehouse for tobacco tycoon and Tampa man, Eli Witt, in the 1940s.

If all goes according to plan, this anchor spot will be up for grabs. Here’s what some of you are already saying:

  • “Locally owned restaurants”@blacktrekking
  • “Please do something cool with it whoever gets it!!” @tenille2480
  • “I’m hoping for a healthy option bistro-style restaurant. Downtown could use a wellness food infusion.” @noemi.pareja

What retail store, business, restaurant, or space (local or national) would you like to see move in? Let us know below.

Question — #BetheBroker

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