Kissimmee's Development Review Committee signed off Tuesday on Mixed Use PUD rezoning for a 4.5-acre parcel on West Vine Street for a covered soccer complex, with retail and office buildings in front.
The rezoning of the site, home to a former Sonny's BBQ restaurant, moves on to the Planning Advisory Board in November and to City Commission on Dec. 6. The complicated site plan will have to come back to DRC for further review, but city staff were enthusiastic about the project.
"The renderings you all had looked awesome," Planner Ashley Cornelison said.
Economic Development Director Belinda Kirkgard called the project, which is next door to Shingle Creek Regional Park, a win-win for the city and the W192 corridor.
"Anything that draws folks to our community and investment to our community is exciting," she said. "This project is very well thought-out."
Johnny Sartori, owner of Winter Park's Fair Play Arena, said he's now looking at March or April 2017 for the opening of the Kissimmee complex. The soccer field would have a metal roof but would be open on all sides. The roof is essential so players can take the field in any kind of weather, he said.
But Sartori was surprised to learn he would have to install a sprinkler system to comply with fire code. "That's fine," he said. "I was going to have water misting fans anyway."
The field itself would measure 230 feet by 165 feet, significantly smaller than a regulation-sized field. The site plan also includes a pair of outdoor basketball courts.
The complex would have a two-story building that would house an office, restaurant, restrooms, a juice bar and a rooftop observation deck. Sartori said he wants to use converted shipping containers for the building -- a process that has been used in the Tampa market.
Rajia Ackley, owner of Coldwell Banker Ackley Realty, assembled the parcels over the last decade and plans to develop two 8,000-square-foot multi-use buildings along the West Vine Street frontage. Each building would have street-level retail and dining uses with plenty of outdoor seating and a pedestrian promenade.
Ackley said she wants the flexibility to build either offices or apartments on the second story. She also requested approval in the PUD for vertical parking lifts.
Ray Stangle, an engineer for Jordan & Associates, said he designed a project in the Lake Buena Vista area that will utilize parking lifts. Now under construction, it will be the first time such a system is used in the Orlando market, he said.
"We see it as more of a green type of development because you're not seeing a sea of asphalt," Stangle said. "We'd really like the ability to explore that -- not that we're going to do it upfront, but as an option for long-term development."
Ackley said her next step is to hire an architect while Stangle completes the site plan revisions before the November PAB meeting.