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Developer behind the AREA15 immersive retail experience in Las Vegas buys land in Orlando

AREA15 in Las Vegas is a 200,000-square-foot retail and entertainment concept created by Fisher Brothers and creative agency Beneville Studios.
AREA15 in Las Vegas is a 200,000-square-foot retail and entertainment concept created by Fisher Brothers and creative agency Beneville Studios. (Laurent Velazquez/area15.com)

Area 15 Orlando LLC, a company tied to New York-based developer Fisher Brothers, just paid $25 million for a development site near the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets.

Last year, the national real estate firm partnered with the creative agency Beneville Studios to debut a 200,000-square-foot retail and entertainment concept by the Las Vegas Strip called AREA15.

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The attraction is often described as “futuristic” or “immersive,” and offers live events, art installations and a 6,500-square-foot food hall by chef and restaurateur Todd English. Features include a Meow Wolf art exhibit, a 23-foot Japanese maple tree inside and a canopy of 5,000 LED lights.

Records suggest an AREA15 attraction could be coming to Orlando.

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After the story was published on Monday, AREA15 CEO Winston Fisher sent a prepared statement to GrowthSpotter saying “the immersive entertainment company has set its sights on landing in other markets, and we believe Orlando and Orange County provide an incredible opportunity for growth. More details on future plans will be announced soon.”

Installments at AREA15′s Las Vegas location include Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, Lost Spirits Distillery, Dueling Axes, Emporium Bar and Arcade and Wink World.
Installments at AREA15′s Las Vegas location include Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, Lost Spirits Distillery, Dueling Axes, Emporium Bar and Arcade and Wink World. (Laurent Velazquez/area15.com)

Area 15 Orlando LLC bought about 17 acres on the northwest corner of Lake Street and Regency Village Drive.

The deal took place across two separate transactions between Robert S. Kingsland, a trustee of the Kingsland Land Trust, and Lake/I-4 LLC, led by attorney Robert Underwood in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Property records show the buyer financed the deal with a $25.5 million mortgage from Fisher Brothers Financial and Development Company.

Dan Pelson, the chief operating officer at AREA15, signed the mortgage. The buyer’s address links to the Las Vegas AREA15 location at 3215 S. Rancho Drive.

Attempts to reach representatives with AREA15, Fisher Brothers or Beneville Studios to confirm any plans for expansion into the Orlando market were unsuccessful.

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Over the past three months, Brent Lenzen with Kimley-Horn and Associates has been working with the selling parties and Orange County’s Development Review Committee to entitle the property to feature a large amount of amusement and commercial space.

In December, the DRC signed off on a Land Development Plan that converts entitlements for 1,044 hotel rooms to 310,300 square feet of commercial and amusement park uses and a 12% parking reduction within the Kingsland Grande Planned Development.

The item is not yet scheduled to go before Orange County’s Board of County Commissioners. Jason Sorensen, a planner with the county’s planning division, said they were not made aware of what the end-user will be during the planning process.

With over 300,000 square feet of retail entitlements, the developer would have the opportunity to build a larger version of the Las Vegas AREA15 project.

In an interview with the Commercial Observer, Winston Fisher, a partner at Fisher Brothers and CEO of AREA15, said he believes there will be an acceleration away from traditional retail to more immersive experiences.

“Before COVID-19, the shift away from traditional retail and entertainment was beginning because of a desire for artful new forms of entertainment that provide immersive experiences, authentic connections and real emotions. We have entered an age of immersive entertainment and retail, and we need to foster the creative capacity this shift will require.”

Installments at AREA15′s Las Vegas location include Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, Lost Spirits Distillery, Dueling Axes, Emporium Bar and Arcade, Wink World, The Beast Food Hall by Todd English, Rocket Fizz candy shop and Intel Innovation Hub.

Fisher Brothers, founded in 1915, is a development, construction management, property management and asset management real estate company.

The firm joins a number of developers actively pursuing trendy projects in the area.

The latest deals illustrate capital lenders' confidence in Orlando's rebounding economy. The two projects will add about 650 luxury rental units to the market.

Nearby Michigan-based developer West Second Street Associates is checking the feasibility to build workforce housing and new drive-through lanes within its 5.8-acre Premium Shoppes retail center at 8600 Vineland Avenue.

The proposal is in line with the growing retail real estate trend to add housing, walkability, and access to transportation to older shopping centers.

Directly across I-4, is Unicorp National Developments76-acre O-Town West mixed-use district.

The multi-phased project in Orlando’s Dr. Phillips area is approved for over 1,500 residential units with retail, dining and office space divided among four sub-districts: Village at O-Town West, The Crossings at O-Town West, the Town Center at O-Town West and the Boardwalk at O-Town West.

Currently under construction within O-Town West is a 396-unit apartment community called The Bentley; the first phase of The Glass House, a trio of 8-story residential towers in the Village subdistrict; and the Publix-anchored commercial plaza in the Town Center.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated to include a statement from AREA15 CEO Winston Fisher.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 491-3357, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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