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Developer nixed plans for a commercial project in Ocoee, opts for a mix of apartments, townhomes and retail

GPK has locked down a purchase agreement with the City of Ocoee to buy and develop 18 acres of land on the northeast corner of Ocoee-Apopka Road and Fullers Cross Road, just south of S.R. 429.
GPK has locked down a purchase agreement with the City of Ocoee to buy and develop 18 acres of land on the northeast corner of Ocoee-Apopka Road and Fullers Cross Road, just south of S.R. 429. (City of Ocoee/Orange County Property Appraiser)

Orlando-based GPK Holdings wants to build a mixed-use project in Ocoee that will combine townhomes and apartments with commercial space.

Plans follow a previous proposal from the company and partner Centerline Capital Advisors to develop a gas station, tractor dealership and flex office space on roughly 18 acres of mostly wooded land, located on the northeast corner of Ocoee-Apopka Road and Fullers Cross Road, just south of S.R. 429.

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At an Ocoee City Commission meeting Tuesday, the partners won unanimous approval to shift their original plans and build significantly less commercial space and add more residences at the same location.

The most recent plan includes about a dozen townhomes and 270 apartments, city representatives told GrowthSpotter. A recently submitted conceptual site plan shows up to 68,400 square feet of retail and office commercial space fronting the northeast intersection between Ocoee-Apopka Road and Fullers Cross Road. About 22,800 square feet is retail space and 45,600 square feet is office space.

The real estate company out-bid big-league industrial developers like McCraney Property Company and Prologis.

The conceptual site plan also depicts a roundabout, dog park and large stormwater pond to the north.

AVID Group is the civil engineer. A Planned Unit Development and land use plan, along with a preliminary site plan and final site plan must now be approved by the Ocoee City Commission before the developer can begin construction.

GPK’s original proposal was sent in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the city earlier last year around the emergence of COVID-19 in Florida, when most of the state shut down. As a result, bid deadlines were pushed back and the schedule to approve the contract had fallen behind.

Records obtained by GrowthSpotter show big-league industrial developers like McCraney Property Company and Prologis each submitted a bid, but GPK’s bid was selected after offering to pay the highest amount at $3.56 million for the 18 acres of land.

McCraney offered to buy the site for about $2.73 million and develop three industrial buildings totaling approximately 175,950 square feet, while Prologis offered a little more than $3.1 million for the property with plans to build nearly 212,000 square feet of distribution space across four buildings.

GPK’s purchase price falls in line with what similar sites around the area have been trading for.

Last year, Orlando-based real estate firm Cadence Partners LLC paid $3.66 million for a nearby 18-acre site at 2550 Ocoee Apopka Road, where it plans to build about 189,000 square feet of industrial space across two buildings.

Plans follow the company’s completion of Distribution 429, a large speculative industrial park less than five minutes away from its newly proposed project.

Just south of GPK’s property, McCraney affiliated company Progress Commerce Park LLC bought about 40 acres of land in December for $5.45 million, where it’s poised to build a large industrial park that will consist of up to 480,560 square feet of warehouse space across six buildings.

In Ocoee, GPK is working toward a second public-private partnership venture. Last year, the company’s unsolicited offer to buy and develop a half-acre lot in Ocoee’s downtown won city commission approval.

Plans for that specific property call for two, three-story buildings that will feature about 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail along N. Bluford Avenue, as well as 34 residential units.

Developers active in the area include Richard Wohlfarth of Wohlfarth Consulting Group, who is developing roughly 70 vacant acres in the city into a bustling master-planned community equipped with apartments, townhomes and more than 150,000 square feet of commercial space.

Meanwhile, McCraney joins a growing list of industrial builders seeking to assemble large plots of land near S.R. 429 in west Orange County for expansive warehouse construction.

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Lakeland-based Blue Steel Development and JV partner Bob Zlatkiss assembled nearly 250 acres on U.S. 441/Orange Blossom Trail, near the S.R. 429 interchange and next to the private Orlando Apopka Airport, with plans to develop up to 2.5 million square feet of distribution warehouse space.

Even closer to the S.R. 429, Blue Steel in the midst of developing a 290,000-square-foot spec warehouse on 19.6 acres, next to the Mid Florida Logistics Park, a 180-acre industrial park where Amazon is building a distribution facility.

State Road 429 passes through an enormous amount of new development, either recently completed or being planned, between Orange County’s Horizon West master-planned community and Mount Dora’s Wolf Branch Innovation District, which was activated, in part, to the construction of S.R. 453 (Wekiva Parkway) and expansion of S.R. 46.

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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