Westside Capital Group plans to start construction by next year and deliver the first 1,000 residential units in its proposed RoseArts District in 2023, according to applications and plans filed with the city of Orlando.
The redevelopment of the former Lake Orlando Golf Club into a $1 billion mixed-use district with up to 6,000 mid-rise multifamily units and 350,000 square feet of retail space would take a decade, according to the rezoning application submitted to the city.
The project narrative by GAI Consultants describes the district as a catalyst for revitalization in the greater Rosemont neighborhood. “With art at its core and its unifying theme of local expression and entrepreneurial spirit, the character of the RoseArts District will instill a different kind of energy and spark resurgence in the neighborhood, which has been stagnant and slowly fading for years.”
Westside is seeking the same Urban Village future land use that was assigned to other infill redevelopment projects like Baldwin Park and Health Village. Westside has also applied for Planned Development zoning for the 128 acres and has requested annexation for the 7.7 acres that are currently outside the city limits. The package goes before the city’s Municipal Planning Board on Sept. 15.
“Our submittal to the city in late July was the start of a several months long process to seek approval for this transformational development,” a spokesman told GrowthSpotter. “We look forward to moving through this important approval process and sharing our vision.”
The development team chose the RoseArts District name to stress the important role public art would play in the community. That includes an effort to engage the local artist community to be involved in the project. The conceptual renderings submitted with the application show a variety of media, including building-sized murals, light installations, decorative fountains and outdoor sculptures.
“We know art can inspire the mind and fuel the soul,” the team said. “It’s power unmistakable. And, given the vibrant arts community Orlando already has and the preliminary feedback received during resident meetings, the team coalesced around art being the focus, with its unique ability to uplift neighborhoods and spirits.”
GAI’s Community Solutions Group prepared the submittal package, which divides the project into 10 pods that would be developed over three phases. The proposed City Center is located in Phase 1, which begins in the northeast corner of the site, on Rosamond Drive, just west of N. Orange Blossom Trail. This phase would cover Pods A, B and C – with construction on pods A and B in 2021. The City Center would have a .75-acre public gathering space with an amenitized stormwater pond. Retail uses would include a neighborhood grocery store, shops, restaurants and a food hall, which would be part of a mixed-use building with residential units above it.
Phase 2 would consist entirely of Pod D and includes about 10 buildable acres. It would be entitled for 1,000 dwelling units and 10,000 square feet of retail and public space, according to the PD application.
Phase 3 would contain all of the property fronting on Lake Orlando, as well as the proposed Lakefront Village. It would be divided into six pods and entitled for up to 3,000 residential units. The initial concept calls for construction starting on Phase 3 in 2027, but the planning team acknowledged that market demands might force some pods to be developed out of sequence.
“For instance, portions of Phase 1, such as blocks A and B, may develop first, and then the highly desirable lakefront blocks F or H may develop next,” the consultants wrote.
Westside Capital bought the shuttered golf course last year for about $1.85 million, and the entire site lies within one of the city’s approved Opportunity Zones.
Westside founder and president Jakub Hejl hosted a series of neighborhood meetings, both before and after the COVID shutdown. The project has drawn mixed reviews, ranging from enthusiastic support to intense opposition from residents in the Rosemont neighborhood, who say the project is incompatible with the area because of the proposed density and building height. The submitted plans allow for a maximum building height of 90 feet, but the roof levels would increase gradually.
For example, the plan would set a minimum 70-foot setback between any new building and the property line of an adjacent home. The maximum height would start at 55 feet and could not increase until it reaches a distance of 140 feet from the nearest property line. At that point, the building would utilize a stepped terrace process to increase the height.
The planning documents offer some details into the developer’s buffering strategy, noting that it attempts to put as much distance as possible between the new construction and existing homes. On some blocks, the plan allows for a wide buffer of 50-150 feet between the new and old sections, and those will be supplemented with additional trees and landscaping. In areas where the physical distancing is more challenging, the plan calls for a 30-foot-wide linear park, with art walks and dog runs. In pods B and C, the buffering could even include a wall “to achieve the necessary privacy for adjacent lots.”
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