Miami real estate investor and developer Brett Chetek has a purchase contract for 322 acres of vacant land in the LeeVista Center business park and is seeking approvals from the City of Orlando to build nearly 2.5 million square feet of new industrial warehouse space.
Chetek Capital has filed a master site plan calling for seven new distribution warehouses to be built on the site, which is bordered by Hoffner Avenue, S. Conway Road and Judge Road/Lee Vista Boulevard. The project would be developed over multiple phases, with phase one comprising two warehouse buildings, each at 156,960 square feet. Kimley Horn is the project manager and civil engineer.
Chetek is seeking future land use and zoning changes to convert some acreage from Medium-Density Residential and Industrial Park to General Industrial. He also submitted a framework master plan that creates seven lots ranging in size from about 8 acres to just over 40 acres. The application package is tentatively scheduled to go to Municipal Planning Board on July 20.
The property was the family farm of the late dairy mogul T.G. Lee and was included in the master plan for the original business park developed by Richard Lee through his Famlee Investments company.
“My dad bought that first 500 acres in 1938 for $16 per acre,” Lee told GrowthSpotter. The family still keeps a few horses there and operates a sod farm and timber operation, but the dairy is long gone.
From 1938 through the mid-1950′s the Lees purchased the balance of approximately 2,400 acres, which is now known as LeeVista Center.
The LeeVista Center PD was approved in 2020. In the original version, the subject site was slated for a golf course development. Lee said the company abandoned that concept because the golf course designer couldn’t fit an 18-hole course onto the site because of the wetlands and lakes.
Meanwhile, other quadrants of the business park have been developed with approximately 650,000 square feet of Class A office space and 1,450,000 square feet of office, distribution and industrial space. It’s also home to over 3,000 apartments and 3,000 hotel rooms, as well as commercial and retail centers along Semoran Boulevard.
Famlee Investments has a longstanding arrangement with McDonald Development to build almost 875,000 square feet of office and industrial space in the business park across from Orlando International Airport. “We’re still working with McDonald on the east side of the property,” Lee said. “They just submitted a pro-forma to us for a new building.”
The business park in the heart of the Orlando Airport/Lake Nona submarket, which closed the first quarter of 2021 with a 12.2% vacancy rate after the delivery of 439,705 square feet of new warehouse space during that period, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Marketbeat report. The firm noted that the submarket saw a 234% increase in leasing activity year over year.
Famlee hasn’t actively marketed the 322 acres, but the phone has been ringing. “We’ve been besieged by many developers from Miami for the last 6-12 months,” Lee said. “I guess they ran out of land in South Florida.”
Famlee Vice President Shawn Barrow said Chetek cold-called the LeeVista office inquiring about a different property, which started the conversations about the old family farm. He said the deal is scheduled to close in the fall, pending zoning approvals.