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Osceola to seek design firm for master plan at Judge Farms; hotel partner at Heritage Park

Kissimmee Utility Authority has agreed to waive the $1 million fee for extending a commerical powerline to the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center. The center is expected to consume the same number of kilowatts as 1,500 homes.
Kissimmee Utility Authority has agreed to waive the $1 million fee for extending a commerical powerline to the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center. The center is expected to consume the same number of kilowatts as 1,500 homes. (Osceola County)

Osceola County will soon be looking for a design firm to create a master plan for Judge Farms, site of the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center.

The county has owned the 540-acre Judge Farms property across US 192 from Osceola Heritage Park since 2012. Strategic Initiatives Director Jeff Jones said the request for letter of interest would be published in the next 60-90 days.

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Twenty acres have already been set aside for UCF's 100,000-square-foot research facility, and about half of the land would be utilized for stormwater retention and storage.

The county will be looking for firms with expertise in Planning, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Engineering, and Marketing and Financial services. The design team should also have creative consultants with "place-making talents" to master plan the property.

Up to three respondents could be invited to submit a formal proposal, and the county would provide up to $50,000 to offset the planning and design costs, Jones said.

The county also will post a request for letters of interest in the next 30 days for a hotel project at Osceola Heritage Park. The 168-acre park houses the 11,000-seat Silver Spurs Arena, the Houston Astros training facility (through 2016), an agricultural center, a 90,000-square-foot exhibit hall and multiple recreational fields.

The park hosts everything from baseball tournaments to music festivals to one of the nation's largest classic car auto auctions.

"The Mecum Auto Auction takes place every January for 10 days," park marketing director Rich Mastroberte said. "They sell $70 million worth of cars over that period."

Heritage Park also lured the Runaway Country Music Fest, headlined by Kenny Chesney and Eric Church, for March 2016. Mastroberte said the 3-day festival, which relocated from Melbourne, is expected to draw 60,000 concertgoers.

Most of the hotels and motels in the immediate vicinity are budget, 2-star and 3-star properties. Jones said development of the research park at Judge Farm will create a demand for hotels in the area to serve business travelers.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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