The redevelopment proposal New York-based SkyView Constructors presented for Kissimmee’s 23-acre Beaumont property in the heart of the city’s Medical Arts District was so impressive, the staff selection committee opted to recommend the company to the City Commission on Nov. 3 without even seeing a presentation.
“I think their concept was very much in line with what we were looking for,” Deputy City Manager Desiree Matthews said.
The city purchased the Beaumont site from Osceola County in 2017 for $4 million with the hope of attracting a private partner to redevelop the site to complement city’s two expanding hospitals. The vision calls for a mixed-use district with medical offices, retail, a hotel, multifamily residential and live-work uses. Kissimmee issued a Request for Qualifications in September for a master developer and received three responses.
Winter Park-based E2L Real Estate Solutions and Sarasota-based Casto ranked second and third, respectively, with average cumulative scores of 65% and 61%.
SkyView’s cumulative score was 85%. Development Services Director Craig Holland gave the developer high marks for continuing the city’s street grid through the project and including structured parking on the site, which is in a zoning classification that allows a maximum height of five stories.
“I think they understood that we were looking for a more urban style development,” he said. “Whereas Casto provided all surface lots, and it was just a very suburban style concept that they submitted.”
SkyView officials declined to comment on the committee vote Thursday. “We are eagerly looking forward to the next step where the City Commission officially approves our selection on the 3rd of November which afterwards our team will share publicly the vision for this transformational development,” consultant Mario Farias said.
The company is backed by Canadian private equity group Onex Development and is known for projects like Sky View Parc in Flushing, New York. The group is currently developing its second phase, which includes a 743-unit luxury condominium tower with a spa and fitness center.
The city and Downtown Kissimmee CRA engaged S&ME to create a high-level concept plan illustrating the type of development they were looking for the property. In the solicitation, Purchasing Director Debbie Luke noted that the site was within 1.5 miles of two hospitals – ORMC and AdventHealth Kissimmee – that are both in expansion mode.
“Collectively, they are investing over $150 million in campus expansions,” she wrote. “This growth offers our City the opportunity to capture this medical synergy to grow medical services as well as the availability of medical jobs in our community.”
In addition, the property to the north already has preliminary site plan approvals for a $50 million wellness-themed mixed-use development by Saxon Partners. Gary Warfel, who leads the Boston-based firm’s multifamily division, spoke with GrowthSpotter in July after closing the $3.1 million land acquisition.
“This is a new portfolio we have,” Warfel said. “It’s a national portfolio we have that’s all geared toward medical centers. It’s designed to work with medical centers to improve the productivity of their staff and to offer an amenity set that’s consistent with what healthcare workers are looking for and what they need.”
Saxon Rose will consist of 357 studio and 1-bedroom apartments across two buildings. The 4-story buildings will be elevator-served with structured parking below and an amenity deck over the parking structure. The site plan by VHB reserves the land fronting on Oak Street for a medical office building to be constructed at a later date.
For City Manager Mike Steigerwald, the whole process was a welcome change from years past, when Kissimmee struggled to find qualified developers interested in investing downtown.
“What I’ll say is having done these types of solicitations over the years, it’s evident that the evolution of our downtown development has really come a long way,” Steigerwald said, noting that all three firms received high scores for experience and professional abilities. "In other words, three fantastic firms. So it’s, it’s awesome that we’re at a place now where we get to choose from the best of the best.”