The Diocese of Orlando plans to sell half of its 60-acre parcel in Sanford along S.R. 46 for residential and commercial development, and keep the other half to continue operating the All Souls Catholic Church there and add an elementary school.
The diocese, which has owned the land since 2001, envisions the available parcel becoming a Transit-Oriented Development because of its close proximity to Sanford's Sunrail station.
Ray Bradick, head of development and engineering firm PKA Orlando, which is representing the diocese, would not say if the land is under contract. He did say construction would start "when the end user steps forward and says I'm buying it."
A representative of the Diocese of Orlando did not return a call requesting comment.
But plans are moving along. Already mapped out and set before Sanford planners are three apartment buildings that would have 280 units each.
Some of the apartments would be used by retired priests. While assisted living facilities are allowed under the property's current zoning, the apartments would not initially be developed for that use, Bradick said.
The multi-family buildings would serve a mixed use, having about 8,400 square feet of commercial space on each of their ground floors.
Uses for the commercial parts of the buildings could include a small grocery store, a café, a deli, restaurants, a bank, professional offices and a fitness center, according to a site plan on file with Sanford.
The development would also include a 15,000-square-foot, two-story office building.
Roughly 20 percent of the total site would be given over to open space, including pedestrian walkways and landscaped islands.
The 20,800-square-foot church that was built in 2007 would remain a mainstay on the 30 acres the diocese plans to hold on to. The diocese would also put on its property a school for 600 children.
The plan is to make the project one where residents could live, work and play, Bradick said.
As for why it wants to sell now, he said, "The diocese is acting to give itself some flexibility."
The diocese has been fiscally busy of late. In addition to wanting to sell the 60-acre Sanford parcel, the diocese in March was paid $26.7 million by private equity firm JEN Partners for one of the biggest, if not the biggest, piece of vacant land left in Seminole County, Reserve at San Pedro, in a rural area near Winter Park.
That property is currently proposed for a $300 million mixed use project, GrowthSpotter reported on April 27.
The Sanford land is just northwest of another TOD proposed for the area.
Several hundred apartments and a group of retailers would populate the nearby Sanford SunRail area under plans by an Oviedo software executive turned developer, Kevin Wydra.
Wydra's consultant, Ron Semans, said, "We welcome the activity of the diocese and look forward to more development."
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