One of the last, major undeveloped tracts of land on Kissimmee's W192 tourist corridor may be off the market soon, and that could be bad news for Osceola County.
The prime real estate -- 217 acres of vacant land at the southwest quadrant of the U.S.192-S.R.429 interchange -- has been owned by the same trust since 1970. The asking price: $13.75 million.
"There is a lot of activity on the property," Coldwell Banker Commercial agent Paul Hoffman told GrowthSpotter. Hoffman said he met this week with the ownership group, which is eager to sell. "I think at this time, people would like to take advantage of this cycle."
Two potential buyers have emerged this week.
Hendrick Vacation Homes founder Kerry Hendrick is scheduled to meet with county planners June 1 to discuss plans to build vacation homes and townhomes on the site, with commercial along the U.S. 192 frontage.
The Four Corners area has emerged as the region's top market for vacation rental home development. The Jimmy Buffet-themed Margaritaville Resort is currently under development on the southeast quadrant of the interchange, and both are linked on the south by Funie Steed Road.
The property is zoned Commercial Tourist, which allows up to up to 60 residential units per acre. More than half of the property is designated wetlands.
Sports facility consultant Hunden Strategic Partners identified the parcel as its top choice for a relocated and expanded county softball complex. In a report to the county's Tourist Development Council Tuesday, HSP said replacing the five-field softball complex should be the county's highest priority, and the W192 site could accommodate 25 fields.
"Today's tournaments are demanding more fields and want to be closer to hotels and Disney. HSP recommends developing a larger softball complex on land near Route 192 that is located west of OHP, closer to hotels and Disney," the consultant wrote.
HSP evaluated three other sites in the Four Corners area -- Vineland Road, Poinciana Boulevard and Seralago Boulevard -- but ranked the S.R. 429 first because of the sheer size of the property, and its close proximity to Disney's Wide World of Sports.
Deputy County Manager Beth Knight said county officials are well aware of the private sector interest in the site. Over the course of the study, HSP was forced to remove several sites from consideration because they had already been sold or placed under contract.
"That's just something we're going to have to recognize," Knight said Thursday. "Unfortunately, government doesn't always work as fast as the private sector. We'll have to see where we are once the recommendations are finalized. A lot of discussions have to take place."
Hoffman told GrowthSpotter he had "heard rumblings" that the county was interested in the site. "No one's ahead of anyone -- there's just a lot of interest," he said.
He noted that the trust lost 50 acres as part of the right-of-way taken for the 429 toll road. "That was an $11.5 million event, so it wasn't exactly a sharp stick in the eye," he said. "It's been a good piece of property."