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Eatonville gets another chance to guide development on I-4 parcel

A 100-acre parcel in Eatonville that several developers have been attempting to buy.
A 100-acre parcel in Eatonville that several developers have been attempting to buy. (Teresa Burney)

The Orange County School Board gave Eatonville another year to control development of a 100-plus acre property at a high-profile spot next to I-4, but it wants to see a memorandum of understanding from the town setting deadlines by July 31.

The new deadline for closing the land sale is July 1, 2016.

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In June of 2010 the school board agreed to give Eatonville the right to buy the surplus land along Wymore Road and Keller Road, part of which was once Hungerford Elementary. The plan was for the city to decide how to develop the land and bring in a private buyer to make it happen.

Several developers made proposals. Some dropped out, one was turned down, and the deadline for the sale agreement expired.

Eatonville Mayor Anthony Grant said Tuesday that won't happen again.

"We set a [new] time line so we don't go back into living history again," Mayor Grant said. "We had it for five years and we didn't do anything with it."

Grant said the plan is to put the property out for public sealed bids by developers. The bids will be let through the School Board's bidding system. The Board has determined the property is worth more than $12 million.

"We will keep it transparent and credible," Grant said.

The bidding will not specify exactly what the town would like on the land, only list some broad ideas.

"We are going to say from a community standpoint, these are some things we would like to see there," Grant said. "We are taking that direction because we have not created a market study" to determine what kind of development would be viable.

He said the town will instruct bidders to be "creative and innovative."

Grant said he wants to receive bids from reputable developers from all around the country.

"It's the best piece of property on the I-4 corridor between Sanford and Disney," he said. "I am really excited about it. I am excited that under my administration we can do it in a manner that is transparent."

Grant said he likes the idea of sealed bids because "they have to go all out to give us something grandiose, they can't go too cheap."

See other GrowthSpotter Stories on Eatonville property:
A potential development site in Eatonville

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