With land under contract for a second project about a mile west of his O-Town West mixed-use development, which is planned along Interstate 4 south of Sand Lake Road, Unicorp National Developments CEO Chuck Whittall says one thing that isn’t on the table is a business he would launch himself as he did with the Slate restaurant in nearby Dr. Phillips.
“The development business is so strong and so busy right now that to do those side businesses, we just don’t have time to focus on it,” Whittall told GrowthSpotter.
With the expected timeline for completion of both developments being mid to late 2020, that’s likely an expected answer for most. Being built simultaneously, both are expected to break ground in the middle of next year, he said, “and both will have a year to a year-and-a-half timeline for development.”
Finding occupants for retail components has become a dual pursuit. While both developments are drawing interest, each has a different aspect that’s attracting separate circles of prospective occupants, he said: “One will be more of a neighborhood center on Apopka-Vineland -- whereas the other, you can see it from the interstate and it’s more for destination or regional restaurants and retail.”
Experiential establishments similar to the Darden-owned Yard House restaurant at Unicorp’s ICON Orlando 360 development would be likely for 82-acre O-Town West, he said, while the neighborhood center on Apopka-Vineland Road to be named Village at O-Town is expected to draw “more local businesses like an Italian or local Chinese restaurant, or salons,” while being grocery-anchored.
One factor making things a bit easier: Eminent domain of nearby parcels including 38 acres on Palm Parkway near Daryl Carter Parkway and the Crossroads shopping center at the I-4 interchange with State Road 535.
“It really is making the properties much more attractive,” he said.
Multifamily construction will be handed in-house, Whittall said, echoing comments from numerous developers of late that factors driving new apartments are continuing to rise: “It feeds on itself,” he said of Orlando’s growth. Financing will come from “various different lenders,” he said, potentially including banks he’s worked with in the past such as Goldman Sachs, Citibank, JP Morgan and FCB Centennial.
A Unicorp project wrapping up well north of the area is the Griffin Farms at Midtown development in Lake Mary. Whittall said leasing for apartments there is 50 percent complete, having started a month and a half ago, while builder David Weekley Homes is constructing the final phase of single-family homes there. Retail at the 33-acre development is similar to that expected on Apopka-Vineland Road -- anchored by a 29,000-square-foot Lucky’s Market with other businesses in its total 125,000 square feet of space including fast-casual restaurants, salon and spa establishments, a bank, a fitness club and mattress and pet shops.