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WSSA wants to add workforce housing to its retail center near Disney theme parks and attractions

The Premium Shoppes retail center is made up of three retail buildings (yellow) at 8600 Vineland Avenue. The developer is proposing to build workforce housing directly behind the buildings (purple).
The Premium Shoppes retail center is made up of three retail buildings (yellow) at 8600 Vineland Avenue. The developer is proposing to build workforce housing directly behind the buildings (purple). (Orange County Property Appraiser/GrowthSpotter)

Michigan-based developer West Second Street Associates is looking to adapt to the latest trends happening in retail real estate by updating its shopping center in Orlando’s tourism corridor with new drive-through lanes and workforce housing.

A Preliminary Review Item application recently submitted in Orange County shows the real estate company is seeking to add two drive-through lanes to the existing Panera Bread and a vacant former Golf Outlet store adjacent to the Carrabbas restaurant within its Premium Shoppes retail center.

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In addition to the lanes, WSSA is exploring the idea of building at least 80 residential units dedicated to workforce housing. The proposed multifamily development will be tucked behind the retail buildings at 8600 Vineland Avenue.

A development matrix in the conceptual site plan shows the maximum number of parking spaces needed if the developer seeks to build up to 180 rooms. At that buildout, plans show WSSA would need to build a 16-story building with seven levels of parking underneath with 357 parking spaces.

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The 5.8-acre property currently features three retail buildings that total 55,000 square feet. Panera Bread, and Carrabbas join other retail tenants in the location, including Verizon retailer Victra, GNC, a nail salon, a sunglasses store and a luggage store.

This updated design supersedes a 2017 version that would have replaced the stucco walls with an all-glass exterior.

The applicant is requesting a pre-application meeting to discuss the proposed plans with Orange County’s Development Review Committee. Attempts to reach a representative at WSSA were unsuccessful.

Application documents show Bohler Engineering is the civil engineer that is representing the company through the approval process.

A conceptual site plan shows a 6-story workforce housing building with the first two ground levels dedicated to parking. Empad Architecture + Design is the architect.

The Premium Shoppes retail center was completed in 2008, just west of Little Lake Bryan. About a block north is where the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets are located. Walt Disney World’s main entrance via Hotel Plaza Boulevard is less than a mile east of the property.

Records show WSSA bought the site in 2019 for $8.5 million.

Earlier this summer, the 1,100-room Orlando Marriott Village hotel complex just south of the retail location sold for more than $100 million.

WSSA also owns the former AT&T building in downtown Orlando, at 500 N. Orange Ave., near the Lynx/SunRail station. Records show the company acquired the property for $7 million in 2015 from Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph.

Last year, WSSA leased the entire building to a federal agency that deals with immigration. Currently, the real estate company is retrofitting the building so it may be suitable for the unnamed tenant.

Plans include placing judges’ chambers and courtrooms on the ground floor and building a parking garage on the vacant lot next door. The company also wants to reskin the building with new stucco and expand all of the windows to increase transparency.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 491-3357, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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