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New York developer plans mixed-use project on West Colonial (updated)

The conceptual plan for Westmoreland Square calls for a mix of hotel and residential units with structured parking. A restaurant and retail space would front on Colonial Drive.
The conceptual plan for Westmoreland Square calls for a mix of hotel and residential units with structured parking. A restaurant and retail space would front on Colonial Drive. (Rabits & Romano)

A vacant lot at the corner of W. Colonial Drive and N Westmoreland Drive that was previously approved for a Dunkin Donuts is now slated for a 6-story building with a mix of hotel, retail and residential uses.

The proposed Westmoreland Square project would rise on two lots comprising 1.3 acres at 1006 W. Colonial Dr.

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Brooklyn-based real estate developer Aron Herczl bought the property in 2018 for $505,800 under the affiliate AH Tower LLC. He held a pre-application meeting in March with Orlando city staff to discuss the project, and this week applied for master plan approval for the project, which lies within the Orange Blossom Trail CRA district.

According to city records, he intends to build a 6-story building with dining and retail on the ground floor. The building also would have a 36-room hotel over the retail space and 79 dwelling units on the upper floors.

Brooklyn developer Aron Herczl is seeking a density bonus for a mixed-use building that would 75-feet high at the corner of West Colonial Drive and Westmoreland Avenue.
Brooklyn developer Aron Herczl is seeking a density bonus for a mixed-use building that would 75-feet high at the corner of West Colonial Drive and Westmoreland Avenue. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

The property has a future land use and zoning of Mixed Use Corridor Medium Intensity. Herczl is seeking a conditional use approval from the city for a density bonus and height waiver. The project includes a parking garage with 143 spaces and would include bike racks and other features to qualify for the density bonus and parking reduction. Bob Ziegenfuss of Z Development Services is the civil engineer, and Rabits & Romano is the architect.

In his project narrative, Ziegenfuss said noted that the maximum residential density would be 40 units, but the project should qualify for the bonus because it meets certain critera – such as complementary commercial uses and enhanced landscaping. The city’s bonus program is designed to encourage redevelopment and renewal of blighted areas.

“We feel that this site is uniquely situated in the area of the downtown UCF campus, the Creative Village and the Packing District,” he wrote. “The subject site is located in an area that is surrounded by other recently redeveloped property and proposed development that will transform this area of the City in the coming years.”

The proposed project also would move the existing utilities underground, Ziegenfuss said. The power lines that are located within the existing easement would be abandoned and new underground power service to the building would be included in the project scope.

Herczl declined to comment on the project.

The 79 apartments would include a mix of 50 one-bedroom units, each 678 square feet, and 29 two-bedroom units ranging in size from 850 to 1,071 square feet.

The previous owner took the site through the master plan approval process in 2015 with plans to build a multi-tenant retail building anchored by a Dunkin Donuts, but the project never got off the ground. The site was previously part of a car dealership built in the mid 1960s, but the former showroom has since been converted into a warehouse for Sign Depot.

It’s across from the low-budget Ambassador Hotel, which at one time was a Holiday Inn.

Other than the Wawa convenience store built in 2015 at Colonial and Orange Blossom Trail, there has been scant real estate activity in the area, but it’s a quarter mile from Parramore Avenue and the edge of the Creative Village district.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was first published on July 17, 2020. It has been updated with additional details.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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