Ocoee retail development site scores city approval a decade after rezoning

An Ocoee retail project that was shelved in 2017 and has been in the works for a decade is once again making its way through city government. 

The Ocoee City Commission voted unanimously on Feb. 19 to amend plans for the Ocoee Town Shops Planned Unit Development.

Located on the northwest corner of Clarke Road and W. Colonial Drive, at 9729 W Colonial Dr., the vacant 3.4-acre site originally scored approval from the city commission in 2009 to be rezoned to PUD with a PUD Land Use Plan.

Under that zoning, a developer would be allowed a mixture of uses including commercial, retail, restaurant, restaurant with a drive-thru facility, medical offices and financial services.

Since trading hands in 2007 for $2.55 million, the property has been owned by two entities, Vista Pointe Family LP and Blue Castle Development LLC, which are both led by Windermere-based property investor Neil Coskun. 

Back in January of 2017, GreenTree Development Group CEO Timothy Green had the property under contract with plans to bring nationally recognized retailers and a boutique food hall concept called Urban 8.

A ground breaking ceremony was held, but no cement was ever poured and the contract was canceled after Green sold his interest in the property. 

In an email response, he said the project could not secure enough tenants to make the development feasible at that time. "My group switched its focus to downtown, where all of our projects are," he said in the message.

GreenTree is behind the proposed $300 million Green District mixed-use entertainment project, which is being planned on two city blocks adjacent to downtown Orlando's Amway Center. 

Previous plans featured three, one-story commercial buildings spanning 30,443 square feet.

The recently approved amendments reduce the square footage by about 3,000 square feet in order to accommodate up to 15,750 square feet of retail and restaurant space in what was previously a 9,585-square-foot parcel designated for a restaurant. 

The amendment also moves stormwater from under the parking lot to a retention pond. 

Florida Engineering Group Inc. is the project engineer. It filed the application for the amended PUD in December and cleared the city's Development Review Committee and Planning & Zoning Commission in January.

Ocoee Town Shops lies east of the massive City Center West Orange mixed-use project set to bring 823,000 square feet of commercial space, 1,720 residential units and a hotel.

In November Park Development Corp. CEO David Townsend filed plans for the project's fifth phase, to include a mixed-use building featuring retail and office space as well as a nearly 70-foot high tower with an observation deck.

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