“It’s been a long time that we’ve been working on it, starting in 2011 when the SunRail project was finally approved and the state got going on it,” said Tom Roehlk, vice president of real estate for Tupperware.
The preliminary plans call for up to 1,700 multifamily residential units, 180,000 square feet of retail, a 120-room hotel and 60,000 square feet of office space. The shops and offices will front on Orange Boulevard, while the hotel would face Osceola Parkway, according to the conceptual plan.
The property is part of the approved Osceola Corporate Center Planned Development, which was redesigned by Tupperware to complement the new transit service.
“At the request of the state and county, we altered the plan for that property to accommodate their request to generate ridership,” Roehlk said. “We didn’t start on it for a while. We had to see if the southern extension was really going to get authorized and funded, which it did.”
Tupperware also fronted much of the cost for widening and realigning Orange Avenue to support the higher density. “We couldn’t really get going on realizing the vision until we got those preliminary steps done.”
This will be the third major joint venture between O’Connor and Tupperware. The two companies previously joined forces to develop The LOOP and The Crosslands shopping centers.
In addition, OCP will be purchasing three additional sites from Tupperware for retail development. The first consists of two Crosslands outparcels on Orange Blossom Trail.
John O’Connor, head of acquisitions for OCP, said construction would start this year on the lots, which are between the Culver’s Restaurant and a future CFE Federal Credit Union. OCP already has four tenants committed for one building and is in lease negotiations with a user for the second building.
In addition, OCP will construct neighborhood retail at two locations within the Osceola Corporate Center master plan. The first will be at the southwest corner of Osceola Parkway and Orange Blossom Trail and will include a fuel-service station and two quick service restaurants. O’Connor will combine the 5.5-acre parcel with another 4.3 acres of surplus property it acquired from the State of Florida.
OCP is also planning a retail development at the northwest corner of Orange Avenue and Tupperware Boulevard, just north of the recently completed San Mateo Crossings apartments.
“We have enjoyed a very successful long-term relationship with Tupperware and believe that moving forward these projects will continue to create compelling transit-oriented mixed-use destinations in Osceola County,” O’Connor said. “As the Orlando region expands, our focus is to create retail, office, hospitality and residential spaces that appeal to the local population as well as the visitor market.”
O’Connor said the total investment will be “in the hundreds of millions.” This will be OCP’s first multifamily venture in the Orlando market, but the company has built apartments in other markets.
“We’re likely going to use a local architect and local (general contractor),” he said. The two firms have a long-standing relationship with Harris Civil Engineering, and Forum Architecture has been involved in the preliminary design and planning. Forum also designed the San Mateo Crossing apartments across the street.
No permits have been filed yet with Osceola County, but the companies have had preliminary meetings with county staff. O’Connor said they hope to break ground on the Phase 1 of the apartments and some retail next to the SunRail station by the end of the year. The future connection with Virgin Trains just one station up, at Meadow Woods, will give residents easy access to the airport, tourism corridor and, eventually, to Tampa.
The first phase would be a traditional suburban-style complex, either 4-story or 5-story stick-built on a precast concrete parking podium, O’Connor said. He estimates it would have 400-plus units.
“Our plan is to let the market mature and build the 7- and 8-story buildings as the area fills in,” he added. O’Connor said the initial concepts would not call for any ground-floor retail or office uses.
This will be the third major housing development to locate within walking distance of the station. San Mateo Crossings is currently in its initial lease-up for its 352-unit complex, and Fore Property Company – another longtime partner of Tupperware – will build another 384 units at the southeast corner of Osceola Parkway and Orange Avenue.
Orlando Health, which opened its $32 million emergency department and medical pavilion at Tupperware this year, is also expected to announce plans for an acute care hospital on the campus following its purchase last week of the adjacent 6.3 acres on Orange Avenue.
O’Connor said expansion of the Orlando Health campus makes the hotel pad on Osceola Parkway attractive, and OCP is currently in discussions with two flags for the site.