Miami-based Westside Capital Group is finally rolling out plans for its $1 billion mixed-use development in Orlando’s Rosemont neighborhood.
At one of three community meetings held Thursday, where residents wore masks and sat six feet apart from one another, Westside Capital founder and president Jakub Hejl presented his vision for the neighborhood.
“We want to preserve green space... implement economic change in the community and introduce mixed-use development that puts parking inside the buildings,” he said. “But this is just a concept. This is something for you to consider and offer input.”
The 128-acre property was formerly the Lake Orlando Golf Club at 3901 South Lake Orlando Parkway.
It features about 2,000 linear feet of water frontage of Lake Orlando, as well as potential tax breaks for investors due to its location within an qualified opportunity zone.
“We’re in this for the long-term,” Hejl said after referencing one of the rules for the program that requires investors to hold onto a property for at least 10 years. If an investor is able to prove they have redeveloped and maintained their projects, then they may be eligible to avoid paying capital gain taxes on its sale.
The meetings took place to help Westside Capital present its idea and receive feedback from community members to help craft a plan that redesigns the shuttered golf course, which Westside Capital bought last year for about $1.85 million.
Hejl said he’s teamed up with Charlan Brock Architects and Gai Consultants to help engineer and design the development. Conceptual plans include transforming the unused golf grounds into a new yet-to-be-named district, though the developer pitched calling it the Rose Arts District at the meeting.
Attendants at the first meeting expressed concerns about accessibility, traffic, preserving wetlands and quality of life in their quiet neighborhood, which for years has seen very little development activity.
As a result, property values haven’t risen much, Hejl said. “We want to double or triple property values over the next ten years.”
Most of the property resides in the City of Orlando, while a small portion of the land sits in unincorporated Orange County. The developer is seeking to annex the residual land into the city and apply for a future land use of Urban Village — the same as Orlando’s Baldwin Park neighborhood.
Westside Capital Group would also have to rezone the property to Planned Development. Hejl said he doesn’t intend to exceed a mid-rise building height category “because we don’t necessarily believe it is consistent with the history of the community.”
According to Charles “Butch” Charlan, a founding principal with Charlan Brock Architects, buildings won’t exceed 90 feet in total height.
“When you look at [renderings] you may think you see something that’s thoroughly thought through, and that’s just not the case.”
Charlan said the architectural and design team worked to put “accessibility, access and scale” in perspective to see what may be possible on the site but plans still need to be drawn out.
At the meeting he mentioned possible amenities such as a concert pavilion, open green spaces, public art, unique retail and culinary options, and a clock tower in the shape of a rose in the town center located near where Rosamond Drive and Orange Blossom Trail intersect.
“It’s not cast in stone... We took the liberty to see if it fit all together,” Charlan said. “It’s the beginning of a journey.”