Universal files temporary parking plan for land along Destination Pkwy near OCCC

Universal Orlando filed plans on Thursday with Orange County to pave more than 27 acres it owns along the unfinished portion of Destination Parkway for 2,451 "temporary overflow" parking spaces, though without specifying the intended user. 

The land is part of a 474-acre portfolio that Universal bought in December 2015 through affiliate SLRC Holdings LLC.

Tom Schroder, spokesman for Universal Orlando, declined to comment Thursday on plans for the Destination Parkway parking lots.

The two parcels totaling 27.49 acres lie on the north and south sides of an 0.8-mile unfinished stretch of Destination Parkway, directly east of the Hilton Orlando. 

The property also lies directly southeast of the Orange County Convention Center's north concourse. One of the parking lots would include a new driveway onto Tradeshow Boulevard, which primarily serves back-of-house traffic to OCCC.

Kathleen Canning, OCCC executive director, told GrowthSpotter on Thursday she was unfamiliar with Universal's plans for the property, but would find the parking useful in the future when surface lots around OCCC's north concourse are partially redeveloped. 

OCCC leaders may ask Orange County Commissioners as soon as December for the green light to fund an expansion estimated near $500 million, which would start by adding a 200,000-square-foot multipurpose building and 60,000-square-foot ballroom to the north concourse. 

The Universal land being proposed for parking also neighbors 14 upland acres owned by Redus Florida Land, an affiliate of Wells Fargo Bank, which has been marketed for sale since mid-2016 and is entitled for 1,200 hotel keys and 150,000 square feet of retail.

Michael Weinberg, senior managing director for HFF in Orlando and listing agent for that property, declined to comment Thursday on if that site is under contract. Its online marketing materials have been updated to "Off Market." 

"It's an impeccable location within striking distance to the convention center, and walking distance to whatever Universal Orlando does in the future on its large land purchase," Weinberg said back in July 2016.   

Orange County's construction of the final 0.8-mile portion of Destination Parkway between Tradeshow and Universal boulevards is still only 35 percent complete, and estimated for a June 2018 finish, according to a Public Works Department report from this month. 

The roadway project has been consistently delayed since 2015. The initial portion of Destination Parkway that connects S. John Young Parkway and Universal Boulevard was built in 2014. Tail ends of Destination Parkway between Universal and International Drive have also been laid. 

Other undeveloped land fronting the future parking extension includes two Stan Thomas affiliates with a combined 30 acres across four parcels. 

A 1.8-acre parcel with no road access in the middle of it all is owned by Tax Deed Enterprises II LLC, a Sarasota-based investor.

Julia Sosa, principal with LandQwest Commercial's Orlando office, is marketing the isolated parcel. The land is only of use to a buyer trying to assemble 15.8 or 39 contiguous acres there, she said last year

An affiliate of the Hilton Orlando's ownership group paid $3.85 million in March for a 6-acre parcel along the Destination Parkway gap, with plans to divert the hotel's stormwater retention and free up more than 2 acres on the Hilton parcel for future development. 

An active construction permit has been granted from Orange County for that pond in-fill work, though the hotel's ownership has yet to start the project.

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