Osceola County's top planners are drafting a new master plan for Osceola Heritage Park that could include a massive new parking garage and hotel pads on E192 across from NeoCity, and prompt more land acquisition.
"We're looking at doing structured parking for 1,800 to 2,000 spaces," Community Development Director Dave Tomek told GrowthSpotter on Monday. "It could be one garage or two. It could be a situation where one of them is built in conjunction with a new hotel."
The county sought LOIs in 2016 for three hotel sites -- two at OHP and one at NeoCity -- but received only one proposal.
"It was amazing the amount of interest that came back unofficially," Planning Director Kerry Godwin said. "But they felt it was a premature market at that point. So that's why we're kind of waiting for the office building (at NeoCity) to be under construction or either complete, and then we'll release it again."
He said the county might even wait until 2019 to issue a new solicitation to garner more competition. By that time, the office building should be fully leased and a new STEM high school at NeoCity would also be completed.
The new lake at NeoCity will function as a regional stormwater pond, serving the entire OHP property and allowing the county to fill in the existing pond at the corner of U.S. 192 and Fortune Road. The county has money in its budget this year to drain and fill the pond, and the conceptual master plan creates five outparcels on the pond site.
That corner parcel was identified as a potential site for a limited service hotel in the original RFLOI, and Tomek said they still believe in the site. A second hotel could go at the Bill Beck Boulevard intersection, directly across from the main entrance to NeoCity, or adjacent to the exhibition hall.
"They really seem to like the corners," he said.
Another element of the master plan includes expanding OHP to Fortune Road. The county already has purchased several homes and businesses on Fortune Road and Shake Rag Road, and is negotiating a deal with the owners of Melao Bakery for two vacant parcels in exchange for their current building and cash considerations.
"I'll use that cash to buy some more properties that we've targeted for purchase," Tomek said. "There's a couple of pieces we still don't own, so we'll be looking at those as they become available. This is not one of those things we condemn for. It's definitely willing buyer, willing sellers."
Eventually the county wants to build a new circulated road on the property and a new entrance off Fortune Road, eliminating Shake Rag Road entirely.
"If these two vacant pieces become a reality, there's only one other piece on Shake Rag Road we need," Tomek said.