Highlighted in blue are 2.08 acres used as a parking lot by the Diocese of Orlando at the corner of E. Robinson Street and N. Orange Avenue, which serves the adjacent St. James Catholic Church.
Highlighted in blue are 2.08 acres used as a parking lot by the Diocese of Orlando at the corner of E. Robinson Street and N. Orange Avenue, which serves the adjacent St. James Catholic Church. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

The Diocese of Orlando is preparing to demolish two small buildings on 2.08 acres it owns in the heart of Downtown Orlando, clearing an underutilized parcel south of the Bank of America Center tower for potential future development.

Located at 336 N. Orange Ave. on the northwest corner with W. Robinston Street, the property currently provides about 175 parking spaces for the St. James Catholic Cathedral and Diocese chancery offices that lie directly southeast.

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The Diocese bought the land for its cathedral parking needs in January 2000, for more than $2.3 million from the North Carolina National Bank.

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The Diocese applied for demolition and related permits on Dec. 22 with the City of Orlando to demolish a 5,000-square-foot office building on the property, and an unused bank drive-thru structure. Those permit requests remain pending.

The property is not currently being marketed for sale, and the Diocese's real estate committee has yet to decide on its future sale or development.

If a decision to sell is made, the Diocese can be expected to write up a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the property with specific uses and restrictions, as it has for high-profile properties in the past. Structured parking that is dedicated to the cathedral and chancery's parking needs will likely be part of it.

Diocese real estate manager Scott Fergerson did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

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The last development interest in the Diocese parking site was in March 2014, when a master plan was filed for 211 apartments and 5,471 square feet of retail, an application later withdrawn by Tribridge Residential out of Atlanta.

The site offers three access points off of Orange Avenue, Robinson and Lee streets, and boasts a high Walk Score of 88.

One block to the north is a 3.57-acre site rich with entitlements for mixed use development, that's been marketed for sale since September. Miami-based real estate investment group Midtown Opportunities, backed by developer Alex Vadia, paid $10 million for the land in late December 2015, or roughly $2.8 million per acre.

Other undeveloped parcels in the Central Business District currently being marketed on Loopnet have prices ranging from $2 million to $4 million per acre.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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