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Blighted commercial center in Winter Garden is being primed for hotel-anchored mixed-use development

A conceptual site layout plan shows where the proposed 102-room Hampton Inn hotel will be in relation to the three commercial outparcels.
A conceptual site layout plan shows where the proposed 102-room Hampton Inn hotel will be in relation to the three commercial outparcels.(SJRWMD)

Developer and architect Dale Parsons is beginning to seek permits for a proposed redevelopment site in Winter Garden.

According to an Environmental Resource Program permit filed in the St. Johns River Water Management District, Parsons is seeking to convert 8.25 acres of land at 12301 W. Colonial Dr. into a commercial plaza that will feature a 102-room Hampton Inn hotel and three outparcels.

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A submitted site layout plan shows the hotel will feature a pool.

Orlando-based Mitch Collins P.E. is the engineering firm. Allen & Company Inc. is the surveyor. Charles H. Parsons Architect P.A. is the assigned architect.

City officials say Winter Garden's downtown region is in vital need for more hotel rooms — its newest being the first of its size in nearly a century.

Demolition for a portion of the site along Colonial Drive began earlier this year, but in order to move forward with submitted plans, all structures on site must be cleared.

Parsons teamed up with partner John Hussey to purchase the property in 2006 for $4.2 million, right before the financial crash in 2008. Nevertheless, the partners continued to pursue opportunities and later scored approvals to build a five-story hotel on the site.

At a Code Enforcement Board meeting held in February, Parsons said the partners lost tenants when rumors about the redevelopment began to surface. As a result, the property was left in bad shape, he said at the meeting.

Bus sales center, All Bus Exchange, in addition to tenants that include a car dealership and auto repair store currently share the address of the retail center, dubbed People’s Plaza West.

A notice of commencement filed in April shows Parsons hired Rock and Roll Demolition Services to raze about 18,450 square feet of commercial retail space.

The structures that remain were built in the 1970s, just northwest of where Florida’s Turnpike and SR 429 intersect.

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The new hotel project could stand to benefit from a lack of hotel rooms being built in Winter Garden.

A hotel analysis used by the city shows a need for at least 250 hotel rooms in the area, but in a recent interview with the Orlando Sentinel, city manager Mike Bollhoefer said that number is likely close to 400.

Earlier this summer, GrowthSpotter reported plans for Winter Garden’s newest hotel in decades. Orlando-based JA Hospitality is developing a three-story hotel with 60 rooms and a pool at 8 N. Highland Avenue.

The closest hotel to the People’s Plaza sits nearby to the east, but in Ocoee. Records show, the 80-unit Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites was built in 2004.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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