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Osceola sports complex developer gets extension for purchase of W192 site

Osceola County and LifeSports USA are teaming up to develop a sports complex with at least 16 athletic fields to replace the county's softball complex in Kissimmee. The county will pay $20 million from Tourist Development Tax funds for the sports fields.
Osceola County and LifeSports USA are teaming up to develop a sports complex with at least 16 athletic fields to replace the county's softball complex in Kissimmee. The county will pay $20 million from Tourist Development Tax funds for the sports fields. (Osceola County Property Appraiser)

The developer of a $20 million sports complex on Kissimmee's W192 tourism corridor has been given an extension to complete their purchase of the land, but the first phase is still on schedule to open next year, a county official told GrowthSpotter.

Osceola County Commissioners signed a Development Agreement in March with LifeSports USA to build and operate a 60-acre sports complex at the southwest quadrant of W192 and the S.R. 429 interchange. The complex would anchor a 23-acre town center fronting W192 with up to 81,000 square feet of commercial space, including a 128-room hotel and a 300-unit apartment complex.

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The county committed $20 million in Tourist Development Tax funding to be paid upon delivery of the sports fields and parking lots. LifeSports has a contract to buy the 217-acre site, and the DA gave the developer a July 31 deadline to close on the property.

Community Development Administrator Dave Tomek said the county has extended the deadline until late August, but that the project is still on track for an Oct. 1, 2019 opening.

"They went hard on the money a week ago and they're doing detailed environmental work," Tomek said. "The closing will depend on when they get their permits."

LifeSports included a preliminary site plan with the DA, but no plans have been filed with the county's planning department. Tomek said the developer first needs to get approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build the sports complex before it can submit a site development plan.

Osceola County wants to sell its existing softball complex just off John Young Parkway and move to a location on the tourism corridor, where it can expand.
Osceola County wants to sell its existing softball complex just off John Young Parkway and move to a location on the tourism corridor, where it can expand. (Osceola County)

LifeSports President Cary Chavet did not respond to requests for comment, but Tomek said the company is hiring a public relations firm and should make an announcement in the near future.

That's good news for David Buchheit, executive director of the W192 Development Authority. "There's a lot of interest on the corridor about that project," he said. "I get asked about it weekly."

Each phase would include at least eight multipurpose long fields which could be converted to regulation-size softball fields, for a total of 16 fields, along with parking, concessions and maintenance facilities. LifeSports also would build an entry plaza and 30,000- to 60,000-square-foot clubhouse with an attached outdoor dining area and athletes village.

When the new park opens, the county would shut down its five-field Osceola County Softball Complex on John Young Parkway and sell the 26-acre site. The proceeds of that sale would go back into the TDT fund.

"We're already making plans for our property," Tomek said. "The board has already authorized us to get it ready to put on the market."

County staff have estimated the John Young Parkway site, which is in the desirable Loop submarket, could net at least $9 million in a sale. Tomek said the county would be seeking an updated appraisal and would likely issue a Request for Proposals for the site.

"The intent is not to wait until the new complex is open to put the (JYP) property on the market," Tomek said.

The softball complex is surrounded by planned and newly built apartment communities, including two neighboring projects by Fore Property Company.

Winter Park-based Epoch Residential has filed plans with the city of Kissimmee for a multi-phased development with up to 788 units on 74 acres west of the softball complex. The proposed PUD amendment would allow a mix of residential types, including duplexes, triplexes, townhomes and apartments, as well as a potential assisted living facility.

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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