Environmental issues appear to have put the kibosh on a proposed retail and vacation home project at the southwest corner of the U.S.192-S.R. 429 interchange.
Davenport real estate broker Ian Longhorn told GrowthSpotter he represents a group of investors out of New York who were considering the 217-acre parcel in the heart of Kissimmee's tourist corridor. They wanted to develop retail along the W192 frontage and a few hundred vacation homes on the rear of the property, which stretches all the way to Funie Steed Road.
But after meeting Wednesday with Osceola County planners, he now says the environmental constraints make the project unfeasible. That's because county engineers said more than half of the site is part of a "high quality" wetland system that can not be developed. The wetland extends along most of the 1,950 feet of highway frontage on W192.
Jose Gomez, principal engineer for the county, said the prospective buyers would need a formal wetland determination to find out if they could build on the road frontage. The property fronting on S.R. 429 is also wetland, he said.
"That acreage is not developable, but in terms of what you want to do, you could do it in the upland areas," Gomez said.
The property, just across the interchange from the new Margaritaville Resort, is currently on the market for $13.75 million.
"The market is saturated at the moment with vacation rental properties," Longhorn said. "They needed the commercial to make it work, but the commercial probably isn't viable -- not at that price."
He is working with Kerry Hendrick, founder of Hendrick Vacation Homes, to scout multiple sites in the Orlando market.
The property on W192 has been owned by the same blind trust since 1970. It was also identified by a county consultant as the top potential site for Osceola County to build a new county softball complex.
Community Development Director Dave Tomek said he was paying close attention to the issue, since the county is quickly running out of real estate in the tourist corridor large enough to accommodate at least 12 softball fields.
"They're going fast on 192," he said. "I'll be watching this one to see if it actually goes under contract."