W192 redevelopment official leaving for post in West Coast suburb

David Buchheit, executive director of Osceola's W192 Development Authority, announced he is resigning to accept a position as downtown manager for the city of Renton, a suburb of Seattle.

Buchheit joined the authority in April 2015 following a two-year stint overseeing Winter Park's CRA. Before that he led CRA efforts in Naples.

The W192 district is Florida's largest Community Redevelopment Area, encompassing 19 square miles. Buchheit said property values in the district have grown astronomically over the last several years. The district's tax increment, which measures the increased property valuations since the district was created, went from $200 million his first year to $1.9 billion last year.

"The corridor looks completely different than it did four years ago when I started," he said. "It's not all because of me, but I played a small part in it. I don't think the momentum will be stopped by my leaving."

Under his leadership, the W192 board approved and implemented new sign standards for the corridor and awarded close to $5 million in grants for new monument signs. The board also created grant programs for facade improvements and demolition expenses. 

Buchheit also won a $2 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation for landscaping improvements in the W192 medians for the entire 11-mile corridor from Kissimmee to the Polk County line.

"It breaks my heart I won't get to see it installed," he said. 

The authority is also working with Duke Energy on a proposal to bury powerlines along portions of the highway and has launched a study with Logan Simpson to develop design standards for the corridor.

Buchheit also was instrumental in preparing the authority's first 5-year Capital Improvement Plan and in implementing a new strategy to concentrate capital expenditures in subdistricts. This summer he exhibited for the first time in Las Vegas at RECon, the world's largest retail trade show.

The district is now entering a transformative era, led by major new developments such as Margaritaville, Magic Place and the expansion of the Gaylord Palms

John Classe, Reedy Creek Improvement District administrator and a W192 DA board member, praised Buchheit's leadership.

"What David brought to us as a board was just pure energy," Classe said. "He lived in the corridor -- he loved it. He was there every day. The relationships he built with all the stakeholders was a tremendous benefit to both sides, and that's what will be difficult to replace."

Buchheit's last day is Nov. 9. Osceola County will conduct a national search for a new CRA director. 

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