Estero, Fla.-based ComTerra Development Group's plan for 150,000 square feet of retail at the northeast corner of Universal Boulevard and Destination Parkway likely won't follow the standards of an I-Drive Vision Plan that could be adopted as soon as mid-December, a fact Orange County's Development Review Committee grudgingly accepted Wednesday.
DRC recommended approval of a Preliminary Subdivision Plan (PSP) change to refocus the property for 700 apartments and 150,000 square feet of retail. The PSP goes for approval before the Board of County Commissioners in late October or early November.
ComTerra is proposing a suburban-esque dining and retail development named Destination Shoppes for 20-plus acres across four frontage lots of the 50-acre OEP East Parcel, property currently owned by Orlando Equity Partners, an LLC affiliated with Stan Thomas' Southwood Development Company out of Atlanta.
Jay Jackson of Kimley-Horn and Associates is civil engineer for the current owner. They're walking the PSP and Development Plan (DP) through county approval before retail-focused lots of the property are sold to ComTerra, and a remaining multi-family residential lot is likely sold to ContraVest to build a 345-unit second phase of its The Courtney Apartments.
John Smogor, planning administrator for Orange County Government, and other DRC members were frustrated with the fact that retail development plans for this property will likely focus parking lots out front along Universal Boulevard and Destination Parkway, with buildings set back.
That suburban-style design is the opposite of what Smogor expects the I-Drive Vision Plan standards will be for commercial development, which will likely require buildings set along the street with wide sidewalks, and parking on the property's rear. This parcel will fall within the boundaries of the I-Drive Vision Plan, if it is adopted by the county's BCC after being presented in mid-December.
But Kimley-Horn and Orlando Equity Partners are likely to get this property's PSP and DP through the county approval process before that I-Drive Vision Plan is adopted, setting it up for ComTerra to develop under current standards.
Smogor and DRC had a condition applied to the PSP documents that future DPs on the property may be subject to design standards of an I-Drive Vision Plan, if it is adopted in the future by BCC. However, that would only impact a DP that isn't approved before the I-Drive Vision Plan takes hold.
ComTerra principal Jim Nashman did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.