Avalon Park Group gains ground on community center, charter school plans

Early-stage exterior design of the new Avalon Park community center.
Early-stage exterior design of the new Avalon Park community center. (Mellich-Blenden Engineering)

Avalon Park Group will seek general contractors later this year for projected groundbreakings in January on a new community center and charter school in Avalon Park, developments estimated at $1.5 million and $16 million, respectively.

With more than 15,000 residents, 4,000-plus homes and 2,000 people working in businesses within the planned community of Avalon Park, a new community center was needed to keep up with resident demand for event space, said Beat Kahli, president and CEO of Avalon Park Group, which is donating the land as community developer.


The 12,150-square-foot center will lie within the area of Tanja King Park, at the northeast corner of Tanja King Boulevard and Honey Locust Drive. It will feature meeting and dining rooms, a kitchen and playroom available for use by members of the Avalon Park Homeowner's Association.

While Avalon Park Group is donating the property, the HOA will pay the projected $1.5 million cost for construction, Kahli said.

Development Plan approval could come in October at Orange County's Development Review Committee for the community center. Permit applications would follow, with construction projected to start in January for a May-June 2016 opening. A second phase of construction for the property will add an outdoor swimming pool later in 2016.

General contractor bidding will be opened by Avalon Park Group after plan engineering concludes, likely in November.

A Development Plan should also go before DRC in October for the Pinecrest Avalon Academy, a 96,945-square-foot charter school set for 2.69 acres in the community's downtown.

Avalon Park Group is owner and developer of the projected $16 million school, for which it will likely seek a construction loan worth up to 60 percent of the budget, Kahli said.

Pinecrest has been chosen by Avalon to operate, part of Miami-based charter school management group Academica.

The school will serve up to 1,600 students in grades 6-12, and will be located at the corner of Avalon Boulevard East and Avalon Lake Boulevard, in part to help bring more consumer activity to downtown during the daytime, Kahli said.

Following DRC, plans and permits for the school will face further approval from county staff. Construction should begin in January for a targeted opening in August 2016. Bidding could open to general contractors in November, with a selection in December.

The school would be built in two phases. The first would include a 50,191-square-foot building for 900 students, adjacent sidewalk and entire parking lot, while the second phase would have a 46,754-square-foot building for 700 students and sidewalk. The school is projected to employ 106 people.

Pinecrest is one of two new charter schools proposed for Avalon Park this year by Kahli's development group, in response to overcrowding issues at Avalon Middle School.

Civil engineer on both projects is Mellich-Blenden Engineering of Maitland.

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