The soaring towers that were intended to change the skyline of Kissimmee’s W192 tourism corridor are gone in Magic Development’s new revamped Magic Place mixed-use development.
The Orlando-based developer filed a new conceptual master plan this week for next phase of what was intended to be a $1.7 billion Pininfarina-branded resort. The original concept, unveiled in 2016, called for 10 residential towers ranging in height from 17 to 25 stories for a total of 1,850 units, plus 250,000 square feet of retail, dining and offices.
Magic has yet to start vertical construction on the food hall that anchors its first phase, opting instead to focus on its third townhouse resort community immediately to the south and redesigning the 87-acre Magic Place project.
Instead of a single contiguous destination center joined by a massive parking structure and boardwalk, the new Magic Place would consist of mostly stand alone restaurants, offices and hotels plus a new 468-unit apartment complex. All are surface parked. Company representatives have declined multiple phone and email requests for interviews.
It’s unclear if Pininfarina is still involved in the Magic Place development. The project is no longer listed on the company’s website, but the 458-unit Magic Village 3 resort still appears to carry the Pininfarina brand.
The new site plan by Daly Design Group creates 11 separate parcels for restaurants: nine dine-in and two fast-casual. The smaller restaurants would be around 5,000 square feet. The largest one, which overlooks an 11-acre lake and conservation area, would be 16,000 square feet.
There are three hotel parcels shown on the plan, and they would account for a combined total of just under 750 rooms. While the Pininfarina concept envisioned Magic Place as a magnet for high-end, designer retailers, the current plan shows just two retail buildings totaling about 42,000 square feet.
There’s also a separate, 48,954-square-foot multiplex cinema and an 88,400-square-foot entertainment venue on its own 7.15-acre lot, but there is no central promenade or public gathering space shown on the plan. Sunset Walk at Margaritaville, in contrast, features mostly inline retail and dining surrounding a public plaza with an outdoor stage with live entertainment. Old Town also features a central promenade and utilizes shared parking.
David Gabbai, managing director for retail services at Collier’s International, said that while the future of retail is interactive and experiential, the Magic Place layout could be an easier sell for national restaurant brands. “Casual themed restaurants, the chained brands, really do like their traditional layout, and that includes a stand-alone building with its own parking,” he said.
Four parcels are identified as sites for medical offices, including the two at the primary entrance with frontage on W192. Within the development, two additional MOBs are shown, each on a 5-acre parcel, entitled for 66,000 and 52,000 square feet, respectively.
The apartment complex would rise on a 22-acre lot between the commercial district and the resort.
“The apartments they’ll fill,” added Gabbai, who is not involved in the project. “There’s always a need for more housing.”
Christina Morris, W192 Development Authority executive director, said Magic Development director Hector Lizasuain was scheduled to brief the board this week on progress at Magic Place but asked to postpone the presentation.
Magic Development has not submitted a Site Development Plan yet to Osceola County for Phase 2 of Magic Place. Jane Adams, a senior development coordinator, said the only thing that’s been approved so far is the infrastructure. When the firm does submit to the county, the plan would have to adhere to the recently adopted W192 design standards with regard to building placement, landscaping, lighting and parking.
After reviewing the site plan submitted to the SFWMD, Adams said it’s likely the project would require some redesign – especially for the buildings fronting on W192 – to comply with the code.
The developer also would be required to complete a streetscape that meets the standards for the district. That would include a sidewalks with the appropriate lighting, bench seating and landscaping. Magic Place is situated within the CRA’s Entertainment subdistrict, which also includes Old Town.
It’s the second time this year development plans have been filed for a project in the Entertainment district, and both times the 2020 concept falls short of the pre-Covid concept. In April, Blackfin Partners held a pre-application meeting with county planners to discuss a plan to build a gas station/convenience store and fast-food restaurants on W192 a block from to Old Town.
The food hall, movie theater and entertainment venue at Magic Place would draw tourists and locals, but CRE professionals have told GrowthSpotter the W192 corridor can not support the luxury retail brands that would compete with destination centers like Disney Springs.
“First up, there’s a lot of competition,” retired broker John Crossman said in an earlier interview. “And secondly, the retail in that corridor ... the numbers have not been outstanding. It’s been OK. It’s been fair. But if you’re looking at all the places to expand and go into, it’s risky. It’s not been setting the world on fire the last couple of years.”