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A Longwood-based developer who has been racking up land in Apopka since 2004 is close to breaking ground on a new retail project called Gateway Plaza.

VBRO Group, led by property investor and developer Ashish Kapadia, is looking to build more than 32,000 square feet of retail space on 3.36 acres of land situated on the northwest corner of E. Lester and Rock Springs roads.

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The developer began assembling the six-parcel property in 2004, paying $150,000 for the final 0.84 acres of land at 41 E. Lester Rd. in 2017.

A majority of the Gateway Plaza site is vacant. Only a sole single-family house built in 1979 stands.

VBRO Group plans to break ground during the second quarter of this year. Delivery of the product is slated for first quarter of 2020.

Burkett Engineering is the project's engineer. Timothy Gaus of TG AIA is the architect

Last year, Apopka's City Council approved an ordinance rezoning the property to Planned Unit Development. The Gateway Plaza Master Plan/Preliminary Development Plan goes before city council members this week with a rubber stamp of approval from city staff.

A site plan for the retail center shows the project consists of four commercial buildings totaling 32,430 square feet, with three designated for general commercial businesses and the remaining intended for restaurant use with outdoor seating.

Learn which local real estate investors banked this land 27 years ago in anticipation of a future Orlando Beltway, and the new uses sought via rezoning.

VBRO Group tapped Matthew Weinberger of Lincoln Property Company as its exclusive listing broker.

Declining to provide any names, Weinberger said Gateway Plaza has finalizing lease negotiations with several national and regional restaurants and commercial users.

Asking annual rents at Gateway Plaza are at about $22 per square foot, triple net, Weinberger said.

Spaces start at 1,500 square feet, with two of the buildings offering drive-thru potential.

"There are plans in place for residential development throughout every side of Gateway Plaza," Weinbergers said.

Directly behind the property, K Hovnanian is building a gated 112-lot residential development with amenities such as a dog park, playground and pool with a cabana area.

"There's a dramatic need for a wide variety of retailers to come in and appease some of the surrounding residences and future residences planned for the city," Weinberger said, noting a void in retail development in the city.

Find who the developers are for new subdivisions that could add 400 homes near a new Wekiva Parkway interchange in Apopka.

VBRO Group's Kapadia is also amassing land just south of the property.

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Located on the southwest corner of East Myrtle Street and North Park Avenue, Kapadia's North Park Avenue Properties, LLC has assembled about 3.7 acres of land directly across Adventist Health System's former Apopka hospital site, in addition to a four-acre portion of Dream Lake.

Records show the North Park Avenue Properties entity is co-owned by Suryakanta Vyas. No plans have been filed for the site.

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 FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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