Longtime Atlanta developer Bill Candler is returning to the metro Orlando market with plans for a $50 million mixed-use project on U.S. 192 near Disney.
Candler, president of new development at Candler Development Company, told GrowthSpotter he has a contract to buy a 23-acre parcel with 1,000 feet of frontage on W-192 directly across from the Orange Lake Resort, a Holiday Inn Club Vacation resort, and just west of S.R. 429.
The Candlers, heirs of Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler, have been involved in real estate development for a century. Bill Candler said the family built several shopping centers in Orlando in the 1980s.
"I have been in Orlando and my family has been in and out of Orlando for a long time," he said. "I spent about 10 years researching the Orlando market and looking for the best place I could stick a flag in the ground and restart developing in the greater Orlando market. I felt like the 192 corridor is the best emerging market I could find."
The road connectivity was a major draw, Candler said. The location is minutes from Disney and easily accessible to Orlando International Airport or downtown Orlando without using Interstate 4.
"Right there on that corner, when you look at the big picture, I'm across the street from Animal Kingdom, which is where a lot of the newest jobs are going in," he said. "It's got a lot of older, existing developments that have been there and through cycles of real estate. It's primed for redevelopment. I've seen that in Atlanta, and I think you'll find over the next few years that corridor is going to completely change."
Although he hasn't closed on the property yet, Candler said he hopes to start construction on "Savannah Square" before the end of the quarter. "I've got all the permits in hand necessary to start."
Osceola County approved plans in September for a 326-unit apartment complex along with 5 outparcels fronting on U.S. 192. Candler said he is negotiating with a hotel developer to combine the two northeast outparcels for a 180-room branded, limited-service hotel.
The class-A apartment complex will be unlike anything currently in development on the W192 corridor. Candler said he designed Savannah Square to feel like the iconic southern city, known for squares and fountains. The buildings will have different heights, and carriage houses will be scattered around the perimeter of the complex.
"The carriage houses are something we're really excited about. That's going to give it kind of a unique feeling," he said. "We can't make it look too historic because we've got to appeal to the younger generation - so it's got to be neo-new. There's a town square feel I want it to evolve to - that includes the outparcels, too."