Kissimmee-based Schoolfield Properties wants to give a fresh look to a 40-year-old shopping center next to NeoCity.
Mill Creek Mall is located at the southeast corner of Vine and Oak streets, within the Vine Street Overlay. It currently has Highway Commercial zoning, but owner Wayne Schoolfield is seeking to change that to a Mixed-Use Planned Unit Development.
The rezoning coincides with the renovation of a 30,000-square-foot box on the east end of the property for a new tenant: Osceola County’s Department of Human Services.
Schoolfield said the county is leasing space formerly occupied by Career Source of Central Florida. The department would relocate about 50 employees and expects anywhere from 50-100 clients per day.
Future plans for a connecting road between Oak Street and NeoCity through his property prompted Schoolfield to consider how to make the back of the shopping center more attractive. The connector would be an extension of Ethos Park Drive, which skirts the northern shore of the NeoCity lake. Schoolfield said the road could be constructed just north of his existing stormwater pond.
“If that’s the case, then we’re looking at plans to completely renovate the back side of the center, because nobody wants to drive along that road and look at the back of the building,” he said. The challenge is how to make the building more attractive without interfering with the loading operations for existing tenants.
One conceptual plan by KDA Engineering calls for constructing a new retail building along the Vine Street frontage and building additions at the back of the center to give the property a “double-front” appearance.
“Our plan is to accomplish that so it doesn’t look like a loading dock. We’re looking at decorative ends and landscaping. Everybody is kind of scratching their heads on what they think is the best way to do that.”
Property Manager Alicia Kelly said the plans at this point are just conceptual. Schoolfield wants to have the PUD approval in place when development activity picks up in NeoCity.
“Right now, it’s just throwing ideas of what we’d like to see 10 years from now,” she said.
Mill Creek Mall is centrally located among three new or proposed apartment complexes. LandSouth Construction expects to deliver the 292-unit Neo Square apartments at 1450 E Vine St. in spring 2021. Just across Oak Street, Landmark Companies is under contract for a 10.9-acre site and plans to build 247 units of Class-A residential.
Park Square, meanwhile, owns the 16.4-acre site across Vine Street/E192 and plans to build a mixed-use project called The Neo. The project would add up to 384 apartments with a mix of 4- and 5-story buildings and plans to introduce a concierge concept to the community. Two retail or restaurant buildings are planned along the E192 frontage.