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Flagship files plans for new retail center across from NeoCity gateway

Flagship Development is planning to break ground in April on a $4 million retail center across from one of the main gateways into Osceola's NeoCity tech district.

It would be the next phase of Heritage Commons, a 20,000-square-foot plaza at the corner of U.S. 192 and Fortune Road, next to Osceola Heritage Park.

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Flagship actually began the 5-acre project in 2015, completing a 91,400 self-storage facility and immediately selling it to self-storage REIT W.P. Cary for $8 million.

The company had planned to launch into its next phase, the retail plaza, but got held up by a county moratorium and new design regulations for the E192 CRA district.

"We met with the county a little over a year ago and learned about the CRA overlay this property falls within," Flagship CEO Ted Bolin told GrowthSpotter.

The company had previously submitted a Site Development Plan calling for a "conventional" retail strip plaza, but the CRA overlay requires a more urban type of development, with higher densities and parking in the rear of the buildings.

Heritage Commons is composed of three lots. Flagship built a 91,400-square-foot self-storage facility in 2015. Now the developer is prepping for construction of the first two commercial buildings on Lot 2. Named tenants include Marco's Pizza and Studio U salon.
Heritage Commons is composed of three lots. Flagship built a 91,400-square-foot self-storage facility in 2015. Now the developer is prepping for construction of the first two commercial buildings on Lot 2. Named tenants include Marco's Pizza and Studio U salon. (Florida Engineering Group)

"That necessitated a design change, but we're pretty excited about what our architect came up with," Bolin said. "Right now we're permitting the first two buildings on Lot 2, and we're already over 50-percent leased."

Signed tenants include Marco's Pizza, which will take an end-cap space with outdoor dining in the courtyard, and Studio U, a Flagship-brand beauty salon. Equity Investment Services' Nick Barbato and Eric Portnoy are handling the leasing.

"We're looking for another restaurant on the courtyard," Bolin said. "We're looking for tenants that are Amazon-resistant, so we're focusing on dining and personal services -- things you can't buy online."

The redesigned plaza hugs the corner of the intersection, as required by the E192 CRA design guidelines. The property falls within the district's "Institutional Zone" which prohibits single-story buildings. Bolin said architect John Michelena designed the buildings so they could accommodate additional height. Florida Engineering Group is the civil engineer.

"You have to show the ability to go two stories," Bolin said. "Our buildings have the ability to add a second story, and the parking lot can accommodate a future parking garage. It doesn't make sense today, but it could be added in five or 10 years, as the market demands it."

The site plan calls for an additional 5,400-square-foot building on Lot 2 and future office/retail construction, possibly a QSR, on Lot 1.

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The property faces the southwest corner of Osceola Heritage Park and a large retention pond which is being drained to allow for future commercial development of the county-owned property.

"We're very excited about NeoCity," Bolin said. "I see a lot of positives -- the county designated this whole area for intense development."

The NeoCity submarket has attracted several new multifamily developments, including a $50 million complex by Investors Realty Capital and a mixed-use development by Park Square Homes.

Schoolfield Properties has also filed preliminary plans for Valencia Village, an 18-acre Mixed-Use Planned Unit Development at the Denn John Lane gateway into NeoCity.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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