Boyd Development and owners of the former Colony Plaza Hotel site in Ocoee have formed a joint venture to begin redeveloping the 12-acre property this year, pending an agreement with the city to settle a million-dollar lien that will be decided on next week.
The city of Ocoee and its Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) will be asked to vote on Jan. 16 on a settlement agreement to resolve a decade-long legal battle over liens for property at the southwest corner of Colonial Drive and Maguire Road.
"It's a great location, and the city has been very encouraging in wanting quality development there. The FDOT has been widening (Colonial Drive) and should be done this year so we thought 2018 was a good time to get started," president Scott Boyd told GrowthSpotter. "If we can get past any issues to close the lien, we'll get going in the next few months."
The lien had been filed by the city in November 2009, after it was forced to demolish the former Colony Plaza Hotel on the site in May of that year. Demolition and legal fees totaled $1.1 million at the time, and the city's CRA fund covered the cost.
The property has been inactive or vacant for 18 years since a former timeshare operation of the hotel failed in 2000. Interest on the lien has ballooned the debt to $1.6 million.
Under terms of the agreement, the new JV entity Maguire 50 West LLC will pay the lien of more than $1.105 million within 60 days, returning that money to the city's CRA.
It will then begin redeveloping three parcels on the corner totaling about 13 acres, with a first retail phase of 14,822 square feet on the hard corner to be completed by Dec. 31 of this year.
That first phase involves a separate one-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Colonial Drive and Maguire Road that is also owned by Boyd, and not part of the former Colony Plaza. The developer introduced plans last year for retail there, which it put on hold due to the road construction. Confirmed tenants were Tijuana Flats and an Orlando Health Urgent Care center.
Future phases will be developed in the coming years. Boyd offered a conceptual plan of more than 67,000 square feet of new retail, dining and a grocer or other large anchor for the southern end.
"On the corner our team is talking to three to four restaurant users with interest for those first few buildings," Boyd said. "Now that the public sees we'll be moving forward to develop all of it, I think we'll get a good amount of interest."
Over several years, land owner Cypress Colony, Inc., worked with the former timeshare unit owners to settle air right liens that encumbered the property. In 2017, a joint venture named Ocoee Corners, LLC was formed between the land owner and Boyd Development.
For the past 18 months, Ocoee staff, lead officials and economic development consultant Angel de la Portilla were involved in extensive talks with the land owner and Boyd Development that led to the settlement agreement.
De la Portilla has been involved since 2016, on behalf of the city, in negotiating with the property owners.
"This is something I've worked on every week for the last two years," he told GrowthSpotter on Thursday. "The land owner struggled for the longest time to find the right partner to help with a settlement, and to move forward with the property.
"This is a terrific opportunity for the city of Ocoee and for the property owners to bring this long matter to a closure," de la Portilla continued. "The city is excited to have an experienced developer, led by Scott Boyd and his group, in charge of redeveloping the Maguire and (S.R.) 50 corner."
The former Colony Plaza Hotel became an eyesore for Ocoee by 2009, and had been condemned after a malfunctioning sprinkler system caused flooding to four floors in 2001.
It was originally opened as a Ramada Inn Hotel in 1968, which served as the headquarters to Disney executives during Walt Disney World construction in 1970 and 1971. It was later sold to a timeshare developer in the mid-1990s, which failed in 2000 with more than 500 owners that had bought units.