A newly-formed development firm in Texas will enter the Orlando market this year with plans to build a major distribution center in Kissimmee at the Florida’s Turnpike.
Constellation Real Estate Partners has a purchase contract and is seeking a zoning amendment to allow just over a million square feet of new industrial uses on 114.25 acres of undeveloped land right at the Osceola Parkway-Turnpike interchange. The vacant land, known as the Ramona Mixed-Use Planned Unit Development, is owned by the heirs of the late Wendell “Jock” Spears, who was the original developer of the adjacent Walmart-anchored Gateway Commons shopping center.
The property spans both sides of Osceola Parkway and is divided among three parcels. The owners amended the MUPUD in 2019 to allow for a variety of uses, including additional retail, apartments and townhomes and a hotel at the interchange.
The parcel north of Osceola Parkway and east of the shopping center is 55 acres and includes a conservation section and retention pond sized to accommodate the future development. In the 2019 plan, the permitted uses were limited to 147,000 square feet of new retail and commercial uses plus 300 hotel rooms.
The 68 acres on the south side of Osceola Parkway were originally approved to be a business park and revised in 2019 to allow for highway commercial uses on the parkway, followed by a succession of high-density and medium-density apartments, condos and townhomes. The total number of dwelling units was capped at 720.
Hal Kantor, attorney with Lowndes, helped usher the PUD amendment through in 2019 because, at the time, the office park wasn’t a viable option for the property. Now market conditions have changed, and demand for industrial and fulfillment centers is at an all-time high.
CREP has engaged Poulos & Bennett for the latest application, which cites the proximity of the property to theurnpike interchange as a factor that makes it ideal for the proposed use. “A successful warehouse facility of this size relies on a regional roadway network to facilitate the movement of goods throughout our state and the nation.”
The developer would build an extension of Bill Beck Boulevard through the property with a signalized intersection at Osceola Parkway, further enhancing the transportation network, according to the application.
A request to change the underlying land use on the property to industrial is running concurrently with the amendment. It would add warehouses and distribution centers, light industrial and manufacturing, and wholesale trade establishments as permitted uses within the PUD. The developer is asking the city to waive some standard industrial park development regulations, including one that says garage doors and docks/bays can not be visible from a public roadway.
The amendment was approved by the city’s Planning & Zoning Advisory Board. The case is scheduled for a final vote by City Commissioners at their May 3 meeting.
Constellation was founded earlier this year by Jeremy Giles, a longtime executive with Prologis, and Hien Le, who spent 14 years as an asset manager for J.P. Morgan. The company closed its first deal in March in Houston, where it plans to build 426,000 square feet of speculative industrial product on 33 acres.
Osceola County has lagged behind other counties in Central Florida as a market for large industrial developments, but it also has the lowest vacancy rate in the region at just 1.4 percent. A handful of new projects are underway that will make a dent in the category. EastGroup Properties has filed development plans for the next phase of its Horizon West Logistics Park on Old Lake Wilson Road. That project, launched in 2020, is approved for 1.5 million square feet of Class A, shallow bay business distribution space.
Chris Segrest, managing director for EastGroup’s Florida Division, said the company had leased 73,000 square feet within a few months of getting its first Certificate of Occupancy last October. Phase 2 will add roughly 300,000 square feet of cross-dock space in June, plus another 100,000 square feet of rear-load warehouse space in September.
Chicago-based First Industrial Realty Trust is developing 333,345 square feet of dock-high warehouse space in Kissimmee’s Tupperware/LOOP submarket.