Kissimmee real estate broker Rajia Ackley has teamed up with the owner of Winter Park's Fair Play Arena to build a similar sports complex on West Vine Street, right next door to Shingle Creek Regional Park.
Ackley, owner of Coldwell Banker Ackley Realty, has owned most of the 4.5-acre parcel since 2005, when it used to be a Sonny's Barbecue. She completed the assemblage last summer, acquiring the interior lot through an affiliate for just $25,000.
She has applied for a PUD in the city's Vine Street Overlay District for the mixed-use project, and will go to Development Review Committee next week.
Ackley told GrowthSpotter she plans to develop two buildings for a total of 16,000 square feet of retail and offices along Vine Street, with a promenade linking them to the sports complex.
She said Johnny Sartori, who owns the soccer complex in Winter Park, approached her about building a similar project in Kissimmee. "When he came to me with the idea, I fell in love with it," Ackley said. "He loved our location. It's right next to Shingle Creek and the county's welcome center. We were both looking for something that could be a destination."
Sartori wants to build a covered soccer field, a sand volleyball court and two outdoor basketball courts. "As long as the city approves everything, it will have a roof, but it will be open air -- no air conditioning," he said.
The 2.2-acre artificial turf field could be used for league play, clinics, pick-up games and tournament play. It could also accommodate football, lacrosse and any other sports that utilize a long field.
A third building on the site would include a players' lounge, locker rooms, restaurant and office. It would also have a rooftop bar and observation deck that could host live music on weekends.
Sartori said he would apply for a daycare license so parents could drop their kids off for soccer camps and after school activities. He said he hopes to be able to open by February.
"We have all the contractors lined up," he said. "It doesn't take long to build. We did it before, so we learned from that."
Ackley said she's already getting interest for the retail space. "And we haven't gone public yet," she said. The two are targeting sporting goods retailers to compliment the arena.
"We're looking at sports apparel," Ackley said. "We're also thinking maybe a bike store, where they can ride over to Shingle Creek."
Jordan & Associates is the consulting engineer.
"We need the city to approve it first," said Ackley, of the DRC hearing next week. "Once the city approves it, we’ll get the architect to do the drawings."
The site already has a 1.75-acre stormwater pond on its southern third.
"Even though it’s a retention pond, we want to clean it out and add a fountain," Ackley said. "We’re going to spend money to make it beautiful."
David Buchheit, executive director of the W192 Development Authority, said the property lies within the CRA district, so Rajia would be eligible for program grants -- including up to $75,000 to demolish the former restaurant.