140 acres ripe for development near Grand National Drive I-4 overpass

Nearly 140 acres of vacant land north of the International Drive-Kirkman Road intersection should ripen for re-development over the next two years, as I-4 Ultimate construction brings an overpass to connect visitors directly between Universal Studios and Orlando Premium Outlets. 

The portion of Grand National Drive between Fun Spot Way and West Oak Ridge Road closed last week for two years, as part of the $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate project.

That I-4 makeover will include a new overpass to link Grand National Drive to Caravan Court, which lies a block from one of the main entrances of Universal Orlando. The overpass is expected to open in Summer 2017.

Ten undeveloped land parcels currently sit in the nook that lies northeast of the I-Drive-Kirkman Road intersection and south of W. Oak Ridge Road, an area currently home to a half dozen small shopping centers and Fun Spot America theme park.

Commercial realty brokers representing those landowners tell GrowthSpotter the parcels have drawn little interest in recent years. But with a bit more patience and an I-4 construction time line that remains on schedule, prices per acre could double there within the next year. 

Chief among those undeveloped parcels are a trio on W. Oak Ridge Road totaling 16.1 acres, directly facing Orlando Premium Outlets, which are owned by an affiliate of Douglas Partners Realty in Winter Park, and being marketed by CBRE.

The site has an approved master plan that includes 1,750 multi-family units, an 800-room hotel and 100,000 square feet of ground-level retail, and has been market-listed at $20 million.

"People still don't realize how much this interchange and express lanes will open up Grand National Drive. This is the game-changer for North I-Drive," said Bobby Palta, first vice president of CBRE Brokerage Services, who specializes in retail and is assisting CBRE broker Preston Hage on the listing. 

"We've had several parties look hard at this property," he continued. "With direct connectivity coming, the market is starting to see what it means to be across from an (outlet) mall that gets 12 million visitors a year, and just an overpass away from Universal Studios that gets 17 million a year." 

The I-4 interchange currently under construction adjacent to the property will provide direct access to 167,000 cars per day, CBRE estimates. A new flyover will connect the
property to Universal Orlando and neighborhoods to the north, and a new traffic light has been fully approved for the northwest corner of the site. 

Farther south on Grand National Drive, a group of mostly local investors acting as Group Kirkman LLC own five contiguous parcels that include the International Festival shopping center, totaling roughly 18 acres at the northeast corner of International Drive and S. Kirkman Road.

Other than a Sweet Tomatoes restaurant parcel on that corner, this investment group can package those five parcels for re-development as a small entertainment complex, or a convention-level hotel and resort. The group is waiting for development demand to heat up near the future overpass.

The largest undeveloped parcel to benefit from a Grand National Drive overpass is the 77-acre tract of undeveloped land on North International Drive, directly south of Artegon Shopping Mall property, which GrowthSpotter covered on June 23. With full entitlements and master-planned for mixed-use development, foreign ownership has sat on the property for a decade. 

The last I-4 flyover built in the tourism district was the $20 million Fenton Street Bridge, which opened in mid-2014 and connected South I-Drive on the east to Palm Parkway on the west. 

That overpass, located just north of the Vineland Avenue Orlando Premium Outlets, "has led to a couple land deals now in the works in that area," said CBRE's Palta. 

Thirty-four acres on Daryl Carter Parkway near that flyover bridge sold for $17.6 million on June 15 to Pride Homes of Vineland LLC, for development as multi-family residential.

Another 17-acre site nearby with frontage on Vineland Avenue and Lake Street is pegged for hotel development as part of the Kingsland Grande PD.

And Sarasota-based LLC Domus Group Hotels I, an affiliate of Argentinian developers with condo-hotel projects in Miami, bought a 2.7-acre parcel in November 2014 for $2.4 million that's now earmarked for hotel development near the Vineland Premium Outlets. 

bmoser@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-5685

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