More details have emerged about a major distribution and logistics center proposed for 44.1 acres in the Ocoee Business Park near the Western Beltway on Maguire Road.
On Thursday, GrowthSpotter reported that NorthPoint Development, a Missouri-based real estate development, management and leasing firm, is proposing a major GM parts distribution center in Ocoee. Winter Garden, Ocoee's neighbor, objects to it, saying it will add too many large trucks to the local roads. They also say the development is out of character with what the two towns are planning for their County Road 438 corridor between the two historic towns.
Two letters addressed to Brent Miles, vice president of economic development at NorthPoint Development in Riverside, Missouri, from the city of Ocoee in February include details about a meeting between Miles at NorthPoint and city staff.
"It was a pleasure to meet you and discuss the plans for a distribution and logistics center in our great city," City Planner Michael Rumer wrote in a letter dated Feb. 19.
Then he reiterated NorthPoint's proposal, which includes two buildings that would be used for assembly and logistics for distribution to local areas as well as regional distribution over a five- to- seven-state area. The larger building of 384,000 square feet would create about 150 jobs, while a smaller building of 100,000 square feet would handle local distribution and create 40 positions.
Materials would come to the distribution center by rail and then be dispensed by tractor-trailers. In February, NorthPoint said it couldn't tell Ocoee at the time how many rail car containers would come into the site or how many trucks would go out.
Rumer wrote that Ocoee city officials are concerned about the potential number of daily or weekly trains and train cars that could be expected per train delivery, that there would be space for unloading them and that they would not block traffic on Maguire Road.
In April, Ocoee sent another letter to Brent Miles with concerns about how much truck traffic the project would create. While a typical industrial site would be expected to generate between 25 and 35 peak hour truck trips, this proposed center is likely to create more than 250 peak hour trips, the letter said.
"The plans show over 100 truck bays with the option to open up the back … for more, so this number is not unreasonable," Rumer wrote. He added that the city would request surveys and detailed traffic counts collected at the company's other sites.
Also, major road improvements would be needed to accommodate that kind of traffic.
The Franklin and Maguire intersection, Silver Star Road and Ocoee-Apopka Road would need complete reconstruction. The entrance on Maguire would need a signal and widening would be needed for left and right turn lanes at the site entrance. Also, Story Road to Silver Star would need widening, the letter from Rumer said.
Officials at Winter Garden, Ocoee's neighbor, take issue with a distribution center at that site. Winter Garden City Manager Mike Bollhoefer says it is a General Motors auto parts distributor.
Bollhoefer says what happens on the site will be determined by the city of Ocoee, however the development would be close to Winter Garden's boundary and Plant Street, the main street into Winter Garden's downtown.
He pointed out that Winter Garden and Ocoee have an agreement to plan the areas along County Road 438 together. A bike trail is planned along that road that would run close to the proposed distribution and logistics center.
The city manager said Winter Garden envisions high tech companies related to medical needs, retail, maybe a hotel and some incidental residential development at the 429 interchange.
"High quality, low impact," Bollhoefer said. "There are great places for this (distribution and logistics center) to be, but that is not it."
In addition, the Orlando Solar Bears have planned a practice rink that will be open to the public near the interchange.
"I don't think the Siegels (a Solar Bear owner) would even consider putting the rink there if they knew about the (potential) distribution project," Bollhoefer said.
Jason Siegel did not return GrowthSpotter's call requesting comment.
Brent Miles of NorthPoint Development also did not return calls for this story.