The nation's largest Panera franchisee paid $1.3 million last week for one of the last undeveloped lots in ChampionsGate Village.
Covelli Enterprises owns and operates 77 Panera Bread locations in Florida, including 32 in the Orlando area. The company acquired the lot next to Red Robin, which faces the I-4 ChampionsGate exit lane.
Covelli has an approved subdivision and plat from Osceola County and is in now for building permits for the Panera Bread restaurant.
The huge Four Corners-area golf resort has been steadily adding more dining options as the Omni Orlando Resort opens its second phase and the new Portofino and Gate Apartments welcome more permanent residents.
A luxury active adult and assisted living community, Volterra at ChampionsGate, should be open by July, according to Marc Reicher, senior vice president of RIDA Development Corp., master developer of the resort.
In March, Lennar Homes began the permitting process for its next phase of the ChampionsGate Country Club by filing plans for 821 more homes, townhomes and condos.
Now Altamonte Springs-based ContraVest is poised to enter the market. Steven Ogier, president of ContraVest Builders, met this week with Osceola County planners to discuss plans for an apartment 314-unit complex on a 39-acre tract on Bella Citta Boulevard, just east of the ChampionsGate Country Club.
He told GrowthSpotter on Friday the company is proposing another of its "Addison" branded complexes, similar to projects now in development at Millenia and in Windermere. The preliminary site plan calls for nine three-story, garden-style apartment buildings with a scattering of two-story carriage house-style units. Ogier said the plan is still a draft because the company is awaiting a formal wetland deliniation report.
"We'll put in our typical amenity package -- pool, clubhouse, tanning salon, wifi cafe," Ogier said. "There's also a dog park. We love dogs, we don't have a size restriction."
Reicher said the site, owned by South Florida real estate investor Richard Gold, is ideally located for multifamily residential because of its proximity to theme parks and to the warehouse district on U.S. 27.
"I've tried to buy it a few times myself," he said. "This market is really ripe fruit for multifamily because you've got all these new employees at FedEx and Walmart."
Ogier said ContraVest passed on several parcels in the Four Corners market over the years, but now the company feels the market has matured.
"It used to be a stretch to say that was the Orlando market," he said. "Not anymore."