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Retail project planned for Destination Parkway to capitalize on future I-Drive connection


A development group from Estero, Fla., is pursuing retail and dining chains for an 18-acre green field at the corner of Universal Boulevard and Destination Parkway, eager to capitalize on the parkway’s connection to International Drive that could be ready by mid-2016.

The future commercial development, Destination Shoppes, will cover 18 acres that border to the south The Courtney at Universal Boulevard, a 700-unit apartment complex being developed by ContraVest that covers 32 acres, and to the north the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

ComTerra Development Group has the corner property under contract and has been conducting due diligence in recent months prior to closing on the purchase. The developer is talking to “major retail and dining chains,” for the project, principal Jim Nashman told GrowthSpotter. He declined to detail a project budget or timeline for the property at this stage.

The commercial-zoned property is primed for consumer demand with its growing neighborhood population alone: residents from the 700-unit The Courtney that’s still being built, 440 apartments at The District Universal Boulevard across the street, and hundreds of students that attend UCF’s Rosen College and multiple timeshare properties nearby.

“It’s also in the middle of an 80,000-strong daytime population of workers in that district, and 29,000 hotel rooms,” said LandQwest‘s Tom Heer, who with Julia Sosa are commercial brokers for the site.

But key to the project is completion over the next year of Orange County’s extension for Destination Parkway. The initial portion that connects S. John Young Parkway and Universal Boulevard was built in 2014.

The tail ends of Destination Parkway between Universal and International Drive have also been laid. Design for the remainder should be done by July, with six months of bidding to follow and construction on the road to start in January 2016, according to county spokeswoman Doreen Overstreet.

“Currently, if I’m coming up from the south, there’s no easy way for me to come from John Young Parkway over to I-Drive,” Herr said. “I think the traffic on Destination Parkway will skyrocket in the future once it provides a direct connection to I-Drive.”

The 18 acres is currently owned by Orlando Equity Partners, an LLC affiliated with Southwood Development Company out of Atlanta. or (407) 420-5685