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A view of Phoenicia Development's remaining land in the 11700 block of International Drive that is available, with new plans for inline retail (yellow outline) and 5.04 acres under contract to hotel developer B.P. Sodhi (blue).
A view of Phoenicia Development's remaining land in the 11700 block of International Drive that is available, with new plans for inline retail (yellow outline) and 5.04 acres under contract to hotel developer B.P. Sodhi (blue). (Orange County Property Appraiser / staff edit)

Citing high demand for small tenant space at its Orchid Bay Plaza shopping center on S. International Drive, Orlando-based Phoenicia Development is pushing forward with plans for a new inline retail building directly south and could sell nearby hotel pads by July, the company's CEO told GrowthSpotter.

Based on the east side of South I-Drive, north of the intersection with S. Westwood Boulevard, Phoenicia is wrapping up its development and sale of 39 acres it acquired in 2006 and waited out the economic recession to start developing, beginning with the 61,173-square-foot Orchid Bay Plaza on 10 acres in 2012.

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A Phoenicia affiliate leased a restaurant pad directly south of Orchid Bay last year to IHOP, and the developer built a stand-alone Dunkin Donuts next door.

CEO Tom Harb filed a building permit request last week for 6,543 square feet of multitenant space to be built adjacent to the Dunkin Donuts, likely to be split into three inline spaces.

"We've been seeing significant demand from small tenants we've had to turn away from Orchid Bay," said Harb, "so we expect to have this new building ready by January or February 2018, perfect timing for when the newly expanded I-Drive is complete."

Phoenicia and other investors stand to gain in the long-term from Orange County's $21 million investment now being made to widen that portion of I-Drive between both ends of Westwood Boulevard.

The construction project by Hubbard Construction should be complete in the fourth quarter of this year, according to county staff.

Harb estimates the new inline space building to approach $2 million in investment after construction. Phoenicia still has one remaining restaurant pad available south of the IHOP for its fourth retail building in that Orchid Bay lineup, projected for 15,000 square feet.

Directly behind the IHOP, Port Orange-based developer B.P. Sodhi has 5.04 acres from Phoenicia under contract, with plans for two limited service hotels totaling 222 rooms.

A Sodhi affiliate filed plans in early December for the property, to be developed in two phases with a 139-key Woodspring Suites Signature extended stay hotel, and an 83-room "boutique hotel" for which the placeholder name "Pearl Eagle" has been offered.

Harb said Sodhi is in the design phase now, finishing construction plans to file at some point for building permits, and could close on the land purchase as soon as July.

Sodhi's LLC affiliate sold the 205-key Ramada Orlando Downtown in January 2016 for $4.9 million, and he sold a Travelodge Inn & Suites near Orlando International Airport (1853 McCoy Road) for $4.59 million in November 2015.

PNM Architecture of Altamonte Springs, Florida Engineering Group and Harbco General Contractors are working on Phoenicia's latest inline space building.

Phoenicia's Orchid Bay Plaza and standalone retail pads should be supported further by residents of the 288-unit Ancora Apartments on 16.5 acres north of the strip center, a $45 million project expected to open in June.

North of the apartments is a 3.32-acre parcel in the 11500 block of I-Drive that Phoenicia's affiliate sold in October 2016 to Miami-based Riviera Point Development Group, where it is planning a La Quinta Inn and a second Radisson brand hotel.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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