Winter Park's Nuvo Development is about to pull permits on what may be the loveliest self-storage facility in all of Central Florida.
The company paid nearly $2.6 million last week for a 1.7-acre commercial lot on Celebration Boulevard, near the World Drive interchange. The company is partnering with Emerson International to build a 90,000-square-foot complex with a total of 692 storage units.
Nuvo CEO Gary Cardamone said his team worked with architects at Cooper Johnson Smith on the Art Deco theming to come up with a design that would pass muster with Disney's strict architectural guidelines.
"We already have the approval from Disney," Cardamone said. "We're ready to pull permits and break ground."
He declined to disclose the project budget, but the cost of the land was about double the going rate for a pad-ready self storage site in the Kissimmee submarket.
"We're aware of what we pay for land," Cardamone said. "We don't really look at it as a price-per-acre. We look at what is the square footage we can get. We're fully financed and well managed. We have equity, and our financial stack is fully intact."
And Nuvo is bullish on the Greater Orlando market. The company has two self-storage facilities in active development now -- on South Orange Avenue and at Waterford Lakes -- and another three in the pipeline.
He's under contract to buy a site in the Dr. Phillips area from DCS Real Estate Investments -- the same entity that sold him the Celebration site. Nuvo will build a five-story, 150,000-square-foot facility at that location on Turkey Lake Road.
Two other sites, in Baldwin Park and Maitland, are also in the works. Extra Space Storage will be the operator for all six Orlando-area facilities.
"We have a long-standing relationship with them," Cardamone said.
It's safe to say none will have the flair of the Celebration facility.
Architect Don Cooper said his firm was recommended by Disney to work as a subcontractor for Nuvo's architect of record, Farmer Architecture.
CJS also designed the new Art Deco-inspired McDonald's and 7-Eleven planned on Celebration Boulevard. He said the self-storage facility design is based on the Manhattan-style of Art Deco, using sculpted exterior walls, soaring windows of spandrel glass and fluted banding around the roofline. Dozens of spires add a "little bit of exuberance of the Art Deco style."
The end result is a building that could pass for Class A office space.
"I would never have guessed that was self storage," said David Buchheit, a Celebration resident and executive director of the W192 Development Authority. "Holy cow, it's beautiful. I guess that's what you have to do put self storage on Celebration Boulevard."
Cardamone said the Celebration site is a long-term play. "Celebration is a thin market," he said. "There's not a ton of people out there."
But more are coming -- and soon. The site is immediately south of the Aviva at Celebration, a 303-unit apartment complex that sold last year for $67 million. Just up the road, two new multifamily projects are in the works: Windsor at Celebration will add hundreds of resort-style senior and assisted-living units in 2018.
Washington, D.C.-based Kettler is also planning a 368-unit Class A apartment community to open in early 2019 plus another 100 age-restricted apartments.
But the real demand could come when Disney's The Celebration Company inks a deal with a developer to launch Island Village, the last village in the master-planned community. The site is entitled for 1,010 homes and 300 multifamily units.