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The owners of a popular Latin restaurant in Kissimmee paid $1 million last week for a 1-acre outparcel at the Publix-anchored Pleasant Hill Commons, and plan to build a new restaurant with attached in-line retail.

Margarita and Leonardo Lopez currently operate the Maracas Restaurant across the street in Shoppes at Pleasant Hill. They met with Osceola County planners in December to discuss preliminary plans for a 10,000-square-foot retail building on the outparcel.

“Quality-wise, we intend to build a Class A commercial plaza,” Lopez wrote in his meeting request. “The idea is to improve the appearance of this important interchange of Osceola County.”

The restaurant would occupy four of the tenant spaces. The balance of the space could be used for retail or office users.

The neighboring outparcel is currently under contract to Sun Holdings, Inc., one of the nation’s largest fast-food franchisees. Sun Holdings has already received Site Development Plan approval from the county for a new Burger King and Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. Building permits for the two QSRs are currently under review.

The shopping center is at one of Kissimmee’s busiest intersections, with daily traffic counts exceeding 100,000 vehicles per day.

The Florida Department of Transportation is planning a $91 million intersection improvement that involves building an elevated, two-way turn lane.

FDOT will also add one travel lane in each direction, bike lanes and signalization improvements. The project is funded for right-of-way acquisition in FY2019 but not funded yet for construction.

The Lopez affiliate company sourced a $500,000 loan from JP Morgan Chase for the land purchase.

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