Appearing as a purple dashed line in the center of this image, the connection of Destination Parkway will provide a new direct path from S. John Young Parkway over to International Drive, and the Orange County Convention Center.
Appearing as a purple dashed line in the center of this image, the connection of Destination Parkway will provide a new direct path from S. John Young Parkway over to International Drive, and the Orange County Convention Center. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

Plans by Orange County to complete Destination Parkway, connecting International Drive and Universal Boulevard and providing direct access to 76.34 acres of undeveloped land, have been delayed in recent months due to additional engineering work, with construction now on pace to start June 2016 and finish December 2017.

This final, unbuilt segment of the roadway -- which extends from Lake Cay to Tradeshow Boulevard -- is highly anticipated for the parcels it will directly open to development, and the land further northeast that will be activated by a direct shot to I-Drive. Projected cost of the project by Orange County Public Works is $5.7 million.

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The initial portion 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.

GrowthSpotter last reported in May that design on this remaining stretch should be done by July, with six months of bidding to follow and construction on the road to start in January 2016, according to Orange County Public Works.

That time line has since been delayed, due to two change orders for additional pavement coring, after cracks were found in the existing asphalt of near Universal Boulevard. Senior Engineer Cathy Evangelo said Thursday that design consultant Atkins wanted to investigate a cause to remedy the cracking during construction.

Reaching agreements with utility companies to move their service boxes and transformers out of the path of Destination Parkway extension also contributed to the delay.

Atkins and the county also decided to add Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (for pedestrian crossings) to the parkway extension, review survey controls and add left turn lane striping.

The new date for design completion is December of this year, with general contractor bidding to open in January or February 2016. Construction should start next June, with Destination Parkway finished by December 2017.

Right along the portion of Destination Parkway that has yet to be built, two parcels totaling 20 acres of vacant commercial land are owned by Redus Florida Land, an LLC affiliate of Wells Fargo Bank in Charlotte.

Another 55 acres along that future connection are owned by three LLCs affiliated with Georgia-based developer Stan Thomas. Some of that land may currently be in the process of ownership transfer to a local subsidiary of California-based real estate investment firm Colony Capital, which GrowthSpotter detailed on Sept. 29. 

Looking further northeast, a Destination Parkway connection will help drive interest in more than 580 acres of undeveloped land that borders Destination Parkway to the north, between Universal Boulevard and S. John Young Parkway, much of which is currently in ownership transition from Thomas affiliates to an affiliate of Colony Capital.

The I-Drive connectivity that this connection will provide to undeveloped land along its path has motivated a number of developers to start plans this year.

ComTerra Development Group of Estero, Fla., is pursuing retail and dining chains for 20 acres at the corner of Universal Boulevard and Destination Parkway.

Orlando-based architecture, design and urban planning firm C.T. Hsu + Associates and partner The Tavistock Group are readying 195 acres on S. John Young Parkway for five-star hotel groups and corporate tenants seeking headquarter-scale office space.

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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