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Within the Poitras Property south of Orlando International Airport, the yellow-shaded area on the east would be developed as residential, the purple to the west as industrial/commercial, and the green area would be conservation area.
Within the Poitras Property south of Orlando International Airport, the yellow-shaded area on the east would be developed as residential, the purple to the west as industrial/commercial, and the green area would be conservation area. (GOAA)

Orlando's City Council is expected to approve this Wednesday land purchase, development and management agreements with Tavistock Development Company for more than 1,800 acres south of Orlando International Airport.

**Update** City Council approved the GOAA land sale on Wednesday, pending agreement via appraisals on the price.

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The city is owner of the 1,800-acre "Poitras Property," which the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) bought in 1989 for soil borrow material in anticipation of its constructin of a third and fourth runway at the airport, and for related wetlands mitigation.

Located on the north side of Boggy Creek Road in southeast Orlando, GOAA controls the property and has agreed to sell 782 acres east of the Jim Branch River for residential development, along with another 380 acres encumbered by a conservation easement. It will provide Tavistock the option to also buy another 686 acres west of the river for commercial development.

"We were excited to be selected in the RFQ process last year and are now one step closer to partnering with the City and GOAA on this significant property," said Tavistock president Jim Zboril on Wednesday. "As a close neighbor to the airport, we believe this adjacent parcel can create new and exciting opportunities for our community."

GOAA began preparing for this deal in late July 2016, filing broad Land Use Plans with the city that called for more than 2,800 single-family homes and 1,940 apartments on the east side of Poitras, with a village center, offices and roughly 190,000 square feet of retail.

The proposal would give motorists a new straight shot to the airport from Osceola Parkway Extension, and eliminate the headache and expense of right-of-way acquisition for the new road.

The plans also called for the western side to have nearly 5 million square feet of industrial warehouse and manufacturing uses, along with offices and retail to support a new distribution hub south of the airport.

A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Poitras Property was posted by GOAA on its website on May 27, 2016, with submissions due June 27.

Two developers applied: Tavistock, and Crescent Communities LLC out of Charlotte. Tavistock was ranked first by a review committee, due to its experience developing near the airport, and ability to integrate the Poitras land into nearby Lake Nona, according to GOAA board meeting minutes from August.

City Council was scheduled to vote on the Tavistock land purchase and development agreements on Monday afternoon, but that meeting was canceled after two police officers died this morning in Downtown Orlando while pursuing a murder suspect. The meeting was rescheduled for Wednesday.

A price for the residential 782 acres hasn't been determined yet, with Tavistock, the city and GOAA agreeing that fair market value be determined by separate property appraisals.

A closing date has also not been set, with the date to be chosen by Tavistock within 90 days of the residential property appraisal being finalized. Tavistock will choose a surveyor and cover the costs of survey and title check.

GOAA has chosen Pinel & Carpenter, Inc., as its appraiser, while Tavistock's appraiser wasn't named in a contract provided to council members.

GOAA and Tavistock must still meet to determine appraisal guidelines. Both parties have told their appraisers to prepare their appraisals and FMV determinations within the next 60 days.

In the meantime, Tavistock is allowed to begin efforts to obtain all governmental and regulatory permits and approvals necessary to start development. That includes a Planned Unit Development approval that GOAA is already in the process of obtaining from the city for the entire Poitras PD.

The property is void of infrastructure, meaning Tavistock will have to negotiate deals for water and sewer service from the South Florida Water Management District and Orlando Utilities Commission. GOAA has one valid permit related to wetland impact with the Army Corp of Engineers.

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The residential 782 acres are encumbered with a gopher tortoise easement, in favor of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. GOAA is in the process of requesting a release from that easement, but if it can't acquire it prior to closing that portion of encumbered land will be removed from the residential property Tavistock will purchase.

Tavistock may be required to deed a future school site to the Orange County School Board prior to closing.

The developer will submit a proposed Master Development Plan to GOAA for its review and comment within 180 days of the closing, which must include a timeline for development, a marketing plan, and proposed budget for developing the project. Both parties intend for that DP to be consistent with the Poitras and Lake Nona PDs.

If Tavistock doesn't exercise its option to purchase the other 686 acres meant for industrial and manufacturing, the agreement allows it to act as GOAA's development manager of that land over the next 50 years.

"With such proximity to the airport, high demand already for industrial space, the growing needs of e-commerce, and it being fully permitted in advance, that industrial land will have a competitive advantage over almost any other site in Central Florida," said George Livingston, chairman emeritus of NAI Realvest and an industrial market specialist in Orlando.

The city's consent to the agreement is required under the terms of its operation and use agreement with GOAA for the land. However, liabilities and obligations will stand with GOAA and Tavistock. The city will retain regulatory authority over the property.

Shutts & Bowen LLP provided legal services to Tavistock on the land negotiations, and Marchena & Graham PA represented GOAA.

Editor's Note: This story was updated on Wednesday with more specific, revised acreage figures from GOAA that make up the residential, commercial and conservation segments of the Poitras Property contract. 

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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