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Major distribution center seeks home on Orlando's western beltway

A large influx of semi-truck traffic is expected to accompany a major new distribution center rumored for West Orange County.
A large influx of semi-truck traffic is expected to accompany a major new distribution center rumored for West Orange County.(Jacob Langston)

Kansas City-based NorthPoint Development is seeking to build a major GM Auto Parts distribution center off the 429 expressway, on the Ocoee side of its boundary with Winter Garden at Plant and Franklin streets, and it's a project that Winter Garden opposes, City Manager Mike Bollhoefer told GrowthSpotter.

"This doesn't blend into what we want for that intersection," Bollhoefer said, adding Winter Garden would prefer to see a high-tech business hub at the interchange, perhaps a hotel, retail, and maybe some residential at the intersection that it has been jointly planning with the City of Ocoee.

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Bollhoefer said the distributor is looking for a building with between 500,000- and 1 million square feet, and about 140 truck bays. A facility that big would create some 1,500 trips a day in the area near where the Solar Bears are building their new practice facility. And, while most of the trucks would pull onto the 429, Bollhoefer says that there would be local deliveries as well.

"We prefer smaller projects" at that interchange, he said.

Orlando-based law firm Shutts & Bowen LLP told GrowthSpotter it's representing a Fortune 100 client that is proposing to build a major distribution center near Orlando's Western beltway, but isn't ready to name the client or location.

That project will have between 400,000 and 500,000 square feet of logistics, distribution and attendant office space, with only 32 truck loading docks, according to Scott Glass, attorney and partner at Shutts.

Bollhoefer says those secret projects are one in the same. Glass said his client doesn't match up with Bollhoefer's claims.

"Our (client's) project is projected to generate between 190 and 200 new jobs, paying, on average, more than $50,000 per year," Glass said. "Finally, our project clearly cannot be the same project Winter Garden is talking about because Winter Garden was never considered a potential site by our client for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, the perception that Winter Garden has a decidedly negative attitude regarding industrial development, even high-end, low impact industrial development."

Bollhoefer countered that he heard NorthPoint has a history of buying large pieces of land and getting them permitted for small projects initially, then ramping them up later.

"Phase one is small, but then there is phase 2 and 3," he said.

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Sources told GrowthSpotter that the city chosen by the company had been informed in early May of the company's identity. Repeated calls over the past week to city officials at Ocoee were not returned for this story.

tburney@growthspotter.com or 407-420 6261 and bmoser@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-5685

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