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Miami developers ignite plans for business center across planned Epic Universe theme park

Conceptual plans show a three-building office/warehouse complex fashioned for multiple tenant use.
Conceptual plans show a three-building office/warehouse complex fashioned for multiple tenant use. (Orange County Property Appraiser/SFWMD)

A company led by Miami-based developer Roberto Scherer is igniting plans to build a business park across from Universal Orlando’s planned Epic Universe theme park.

According to a recently filed environmental permit in the South Florida Water Management District, Scherer is seeking to develop an office/warehouse complex that will consist of 112,600 square feet across three buildings.

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Records show the previous owner paid almost $3.8 million for the 5.2-acre site at the height of the market in 2005. About four years later, the previous owner forfeited the property in 2009 to lender, First Commercial Bank of Florida, currently doing business as First Southern Bank.

In 2011, an entity tied to Scherer took over the property after paying a little more than $2 million.

The deal is part of a larger sale leaseback agreement that happened in connection with New York-based Monomoy Capital Partners acquiring the distribution company last week.

Since then, the site has remained vacant. Representatives at the company declined to comment on plans, but confirmed they intend to keep the project, dubbed Sand Lake Flex Space, within their portfolio.

Z Development Services is the civil engineer. Eleven18 Architecture is the architect.

Conceptual plans submitted in the water management district show the two largest warehouses will span 42,640 square feet and the smaller building will be about 27,370 square feet. Each warehouse contains several commercial bays for multiple tenant use (up to 48 in total).

The project is located in Orlando’s tourism corridor near Crownpointe Commerce Park, where Amazon recently completed a 225,000-square-foot distribution center that includes its Prime Now operations, which provides one- and two-hour delivery services to customers.

Last year, Dallas-based Spirit Realty Capital paid $9.2 million to purchase a warehouse also along Kingspointe Parkway. The deal was part of a sale leaseback agreement between the real estate investment firm and paper distribution company Mac Papers.

The investment joins a growing list of real estate transactions and development plans taking place just a short distance away from where Universal Orlando recently unveiled plans for its Epic Universe theme park, located east of I-Drive and between Sand Lake Road and Universal Boulevard.

The 18-acre property features an active shopping center and about seven acres of vacant land with zoning allowances to build more retail or dense multifamily/hotel projects.

Orlando-based Intram Investments purchased an 18-acre retail site at the northeast corner of Kirkman Road and I-Drive for $22.75 million with potential development opportunity in March. And a half mile away, Lennar Homes is bringing its vacation home product to I-Drive. The homebuilder bought the 70-acre site just south of the former Artegon Marketplace (now Dezerland) for $26.25 million.

In the midst of this, Orange County will be extending Kirkman Road by 1.7 miles from Sand Lake Road to Universal Boulevard, next to Universal Orlando’s planned Epic Universe theme park. The extension is slated to cost about $250 million to just over $315 million to build.

According to a 2020 fourth quarter industrial report by Cushman & Wakefield, construction completions for warehouse/distribution centers over the previous 12 months were the highest ever recorded throughout the Orlando metropolitan statistical area, at 4.3 million square feet.

Some of the most active areas throughout the entire Orlando MSA, in terms of new industrial development, are located in the Silver Star/Apopka and Airport/Lake Nona submarkets.

The reports says, in the last three years, 10.4 million square feet of industrial development was added to the MSA, with a third of all new inventory build-to-suit projects. Leasing activity for the year hit a record 7.3 million square feet.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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