The seller's agent for a 217-acre piece of prime real estate on Kissimmee's W192 tourist corridor said concerns raised by county staff about wetlands on the property would not affect development plans.
Paul Hoffman, a broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial, told GrowthSpotter the site has active permits with the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would allow development along the nearly 2,000 feet fronting the southwest corner of the U.S.192-S.R. 429 interchange.
Agents representing a prospective buyers' group met last week with Osceola County planners to discuss a potential vacation home project with retail along the highway frontage. At the time, county engineers said they suspected the wetlands would present development challenges, especially along the road frontage.
Hoffman has since provided county staff with copies of the state and federal permits. "I didn't want any other buyers to go in there and have that same experience," he said.
The land is currently listed for $13.75 million, with the entitlements.
Although the brokers had copies of the state and federal permits, they didn't mention them during the meeting. Afterward, they told GrowthSpotter the project likely wasn't feasible.
Principal Engineer Jose Gomez said he would have advised them otherwise, had be been aware of the permits, which have been extended until 2020.
"They could mitigate for those wetlands and potentially put commercial along some of that 192 frontage," Gomez said. "If they had brought it up, that would have provided clarification. That's why we always tell them the information we provide at those meetings is preliminary."
The permits would allow a developer to mitigate 12 acres of wetlands in the northeast corner of the parcel. Nearly 110 acres of wetlands on the property would be preserved.
Hoffman said the ownership group, a blind trust that has owned the property since 1970, elected not to include the permit details in the marketing materials to appeal to a broad range of buyers and uses.
"We decided the correct way to do it is to be able to maximize the potential of the property but not neccessarily pigeonhole it," he said. "My vision and the developer's vision might be two different things. The good thing with the Commercial Tourist zoning is that it allows for a wide variety of intense uses."
The zoning allows for up to 60 dwelling units per acre, so the current permits could accommodate several hundred vacation homes, condos or timeshares.
Osceola County has even zeroed in on the site as a potential replacement for the county's softball complex.