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This former surf shop in front of the Vacation Village timeshare resort will be converted into a three-bay retail center with assistance from a W192 Development Authority facade improvement grant.
This former surf shop in front of the Vacation Village timeshare resort will be converted into a three-bay retail center with assistance from a W192 Development Authority facade improvement grant. (Red Bell Partners)

Fast-casual eatery Tijuana Flats will open its first location on Kissimmee's tourist corridor, thanks in part to a grant from the W192 Development Authority.

Real estate broker and developer Nick Jones told GrowthSpotter the restaurant, famous for its burritos and assorted hot sauces, had signed a lease for the former surf shop building at 6113 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy. But the lease is contingent on Jones painting and renovating the 5,289-square-foot building, which is located across from Celebration and in front of Vacation Village timeshare resort.

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Fast-casual restaurant Tijuana Flats has leased 2,600 square feet of the former surf shop, contingent on the owner completing the renovations.
Fast-casual restaurant Tijuana Flats has leased 2,600 square feet of the former surf shop, contingent on the owner completing the renovations. (Red Bell Partners)

The development authority approved a $30,000 facade improvement grant on Sept. 1 for the building. The grant program provides a dollar-for-dollar match for property owners for exterior improvements, such as painting, window and door replacement, awnings and landscaping.

Jones said his company would invest more than the required match to complete the renovation and convert the building into three separate retail spaces.

Jones bought the property in May for $1.38 million through his family's commercial real estate business, Red Bell Partners. The store is the company's third investment property in the Orlando market.

Nearly two years after buying the former Arabian Nights property near the W192-Interstate 4 interchange, Lando Resorts is readying redevelopment plans.

Jones said the new design would be oriented westward, facing the Nike Factory Store that shares the parking lot.

"There's really no storefront, so we're putting in a storefront," he said. "The building is old and tired, and it needs a lot of updates."

Tijuana Flats has one Kissimmee location in Poinciana, and one in St. Cloud. T-Mobile has also signed a lease for space in Jones' building, which leaves 1,400 square feet available for another retail or restaurant user.

The facade improvement program is one of three grants currently available to property owners within the W192 redevelopment district. The agency's "Renew192" campaign also offers up to $75,000 in matching funds for demolition of blighted properties; and it has a third grant that pays 100 percent of the cost (up to $75,000) to remove pole signs and replace them with the agency's approved monument sign.

The redevelopment authority has $1 million in the budget to pay for sign replacement along the tourism corridor.

The development authority board agreed to extend the sign grant program, which launched in January, through the end of FY2017. The sign grants will be available in FY2018 at 50 percent funding and in FY2019 at 25 percent funding.

The agency has approved more than $2 million in grants so far this year, including more than 90 sign grants.

Jones said the facade grant program is one reason he's "bullish" on W192. "I think the municipality is very focused on promoting growth, and the community has grasped that," he said.

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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