Maitland-based UrbanScape Development has found an infill site in the desirable International Drive tourism corridor where it’s seeking to build a 5-story apartment building.
Kimley Horn has filed a master plan on behalf of the developer for an 8.5-acre site on Grand National Drive just south of W. Oak Ridge Road and north of the Fun Spot amusement park parking lot. The now-vacant property was previously home to Shoppers World, a strip center just across I-4 from Universal Studios. The center drew a flash of fame in 1989 when Tammy Faye Bakker opened a ministry there after her then-husband, TV evangelist Jim Bakker, was convicted of swindling millions from followers of the couple’s Praise The Lord ministry in Fort Mill, S.C.
In 1993, the mostly vacant shopping center was in foreclosure and sold at auction for nearly $3 million. It was demolished more than 20 years ago, but it has Activity Center 3 zoning with the I-Drive Special Overlay. The Shoppers World property has been owned by Orlando-based JNM Holdings since 2006, but the owners only acquired the 2.2-acre strip that extends east to Adriana Drive in February of this year.
The developer wants to vacate the right-of-way that would have extended Altmira Drive from Adriana Avenue to Grand National and instead construct a new S-shaped interior road that would cut through the center of the parking garage and align with the private entrance road for the Grand National PD. UrbanScape is seeking approval for 450 residential units wrapping a 6-level parking garage.
UrbanScape, which is led by developer Jon Wood, turned to Atlanta-based Dynamik Design for the architecture work on the triple-donut midrise building. The design creates three interior courtyards for the pool and other outdoor amenities.
The development matrix calls for 270 studio and one-bedroom units, 135 two-bedroom units and 45 three-bedroom units. The parking garage would be designed to accommodate 700 vehicles, while the surface lot would provide another 80 parking spaces.
Just across Adriana Avenue, Birmingham-based LIV Development has approved plans for a 349-unit apartment community in the Grand National PD called Livano Grand National. That project would entail building two separate buildings with a shared parking garage and has a projected completion date of February 2024.
Intram Investments is also in the midst of a full-scale renovation and expansion of the Olinda Center shopping plaza on Grand National Drive just south of the UrbanScape project. Intram has lured three new big-box tenants to the shopping center after winning approval for a new framework plan that improves access to the site.
The North I-Drive tourism corridor has seen retail sites converted for the development of high-end apartments. The former Republic Square shopping center on Universal Boulevard was demolished to make way for 350 apartments by Legacy Partners Residential.
Nearby, American Landmark Apartments is in the initial lease-up for Phase 1 of Deseo Grande Apartments at Dezerland and is awaiting final permit approval for Phase 2, which adds another 365 units. The master plan for the former Artegon Marketplace on I-Drive calls for a total of three multifamily communities. And just south of those projects, a 3.7-acre parcel with entitlements for up to 340 apartments sold this year for $7.7 million. That site abuts Lennar’s Storey Drive Resort, now in development.