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STEM-focused private school wants to expand its presence to east Orange County

The private school wants to open a second location in the proposed Fieldstream Village mixed-use project, which will feature up to 100,000 square feet of walkable retail, restaurant and office space.
The private school wants to open a second location in the proposed Fieldstream Village mixed-use project, which will feature up to 100,000 square feet of walkable retail, restaurant and office space. (MMI Development)

Central Florida Polytechnic Academy is looking to open a second location, this time in MMI Development’s planned Fieldstream Village mixed-use project in east Orange County.

Representatives at MMI announced the school signed a letter of intent seeking to develop a new education campus similar to its K-12 school in Apopka completed last year in December.

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The 45,000-square-foot campus can serve up to 600 students and includes 35 classrooms with programs about robotics, bio-medical studies, calculus and engineering.

Angel de la Portilla, president and founder of Orlando-based government consulting firm Central Florida Strategies Inc., told GrowthSpotter the academy accepted about 400 students this calendar school year.

Though the virus did affect enrollment, like many private schools, the numbers picked back up once the school year kicked off and parents sought to put their children in smaller schools, De la Portilla said.

He adds the academy saw success switching to virtual, in addition to in-person learning.

De la Portilla represents the private school and is partnering with MMI to move the proposed Fieldstream Village mixed-use project through all the necessary development requirements. Plans for the project are currently under consideration in Orange County.

The Orlando-based developer is seeking to enter into public-private partnership in order to clean up a former dump site near the Waterford Lakes Town Center, and build apartments and walkable commercial/retail/office space.

The proposed development will rise on about 38 acres around 10601 Lake Underhill Road. Plans include building up to 1,500 apartments in four phases, four parking structures and up to 100,000 square feet of walkable retail, restaurant and office space.

Joe Kilsheimer, a consultant on the project with Kilsheimer & Associates, said Central Florida Polytechnic Academy, and an affiliated Montessori school, will take about half of the 100,000 square feet of commercial space planned for Fieldstream Village.

It will be the second Orlando-area campus for the Central Florida preparatory school operator. Prior to moving to Apopka, the school, founded in 1990, was located in Gotha.

The attendance zone for the STEM-based school will include the six residential neighborhoods that surround the infill development site, as well as the apartments that will be developed in the community.

Orlando-based Crossman & Company is handling leasing efforts for the remaining amount of commercial space in Fieldstream Village.

For years, the property along Lake Underhill Road has remained vacant.

It was the site of a former Orange County dump that operated from the early 1960s to 1980s. For that reason, the extent of the cleanup and infrastructure work put forward will be extensive.

A portion of the land beneath the pavement of Lake Underhill Road would be required to be excavated due to contamination. The developer is looking to enter into an agreement with the state to clean up the property prior to any development.

MMI also plans to upgrade a stretch of Lake Underhill Road, from Dean Road to Rouse Road.

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Lake Underhill Road will be widened into four lanes, bike lanes will be added, pedestrian walkways will be broadened and three roundabouts will be constructed to help improve traffic flow.

The architect and land planner is Shook Kelley and the land-use attorney is Jason Searl of GrayRobinson in Orlando. Environmental consultation is being done by American Environmental Consulting and attorney Brandon Hueber, of Hueber Law is representing the developer.

De la Portilla said the school is interested in the site because it has worked with MMI before in its 150-acre mixed-use district in Apopka, and because Fieldstream Village is said to be a walkable live-work-play community.

“Kids will be able to walk to school, and parents will walk to work,” De la Portilla said. “The idea is to create a self-sustaining community and keep cars off the road.”

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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