The Hourglass District development team that has transformed sleepy stretch of Curry Ford Road into a sought-after destination for hip restaurants and retailers will undertake its most ambitious project to date.
Giovanni Fernandez and Elise Sabatino, principals of National Real Estate, have filed an annexation request along with plans for a 5-story mixed-use development at the southeast corner of Curry Ford and Bumby Avenue designed to appeal to young professionals and families. The project continues the couple’s vision of cultivating a business climate that allows local entrepreneurs to grow and thrive and offering a type of housing not currently available in the bungalow neighborhood.
The main building would include 14,000 square feet of retail space fronting on Curry Ford Road, with residential above it and a 5-level parking garage. The side of the building facing Bumby would feature brownstone-style ground level units with stoop entrances to the sidewalk.
“We think the community has already embraced the businesses we’ve brought to the area,” Sabatino said. “We want to bring more of that with this mixed-use project. One of the ways we’ve done that is to design it with the amenity courtyards that will be open to the public and available for the businesses to hold events. We would continue to expand the Hourglass brand.”
She collaborated with the project architects from Baker Barrios to merge their aesthetic with her experience in adaptive reuse and restoration. The end result will be a commercial space that feels authentic to the neighborhood, she said.
The project would continue across Jessamine Road with a 3-story amenity and leasing center that has residential units on the upper floors. This building would be just south of Hourglass Brewing/Peaceful Peacock building. The spacious pool desk would overlook a large retention pond next door.
The firm is seeking a small scale map amendment and text amendment to change the future land use to Mixed-Use with a density bonus and a rezoning to Planned Development. The total project would add 250 residential units to the district while fulfilling the goals of the city’s Curry Ford Vision Plan and main street strategy. The apartment complex will primarily offer studio and one-bedroom units, but will be designed with spaces to accommodate a work-from-home lifestyle.
“This part of town does have the zoning that allows for more density,” Fernandez said. “And we’re right in line with what the vision plan wants to do. We’re excited about the neighborhood having an identity now where people moving to Orlando want to live there.”
The couple hopes to break ground by mid-2021 and anticipate an 18-month construction period. It would be built in a single phase.
Sabatino and Fernandez began assembling properties at the Curry Ford/Bumby intersection in 2015 and now control more than dozen buildings — with even more under contract. They found a niche by focusing on adaptive reuse of existing buildings, and were able to attract quality tenants, such as Foxtail Coffee and Hourglass Brewing, because they spent the money extend sewer service to the properties. That investment also makes it possible to build the higher density mixed-use project at the corner.
“We’re local developers who have put a lot of our personal time into the area, and we feel like we’re doing the right thing for this community and part of town. We’re helping to elevate the lifestyle here,” Fernandez said. “We think this stretch we’re going to do, this mixed-use, will drive the density to support those local businesses.”
One of the restaurants that has thrived in the Hourglass District, F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen, will have to relocate to allow for the infill redevelopment, but Fernandez and Sabatino have already purchased a 4,800-square-foot building that will allow them to stay in the neighborhood and expand the business. Fernandez said they will submit plans in a few weeks to redevelop the half-acre site at the corner of Curry Ford Road and Primrose Drive.
“We’re working together with F&D to establish them in this new building,” Fernandez said. “We’ll be submitting a site plan to the city in the next two weeks and building permits in the next 30-45 days.”
The relocation of F&D is the first phase of the redevelopment for the half-acre site at 2635 Curry Ford Rd. Fernandez said the couple also plans to build a one-story commercial retail building with a Palm Springs vibe to front on Curry Ford and complement the restaurant.