Encore planning upscale retail and dining village in Reunion

Encore Capital Management is in the early planning stages for a new retail town center called Reunion Village at the Interstate 4 interchange, across from ChampionsGate.

"We’re working on the I-4 piece," Managing Director Neil Eisner told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday. "We're looking to do high-end retail and dining. We’re talking to quite a few specialty stores."

The retail center could accommodate up to 200,000 square feet at the northeast quadrant of the interchange. The land is part of a 106-acre parcel snaking along the interstate that is owned by Encore, master developer of Reunion and Margaritaville.

The ChampionsGate-Reunion submarket, particularly the Osceola-Polk Line Road corridor, is fueling much of two counties' growth with a mix of vacation homes and new Class A apartment communities. But the area lags other Orlando markets in dining and retail offerings.

"There’s a strong demand for more dining in the submarket," Eisner said. "If you’re staying at Reunion and you want to go out to dinner there aren’t a lot of options."

Eisner said the company's retail division is targeting upscale, full-service restaurants such as Ruth's Chris Steak House. 

"We're looking or places that aren’t necessarily a family-friendly, Chuck E. Cheese experience," he said. "Some places where adults can go and leave the kids at home."

LandQwest Commercial is heading up the leasing and has a preliminary site plan calling for 200,000 square feet of retail and dining, plus five outparcels ranging in size from 1.75 acres to 2 acres and fronting on C.R. 532. Those parcels are suitable for retail, fuel station with convenience store, or could be combined for a hotel pad.

Eisner said that particular site plan is one of several concepts under consideration and could change based on who signs on as anchor. The size of the town center would be comparable to Encore's SunsetWalk at Margaritaville, but Eisner said in all likelihood the project will be smaller.

"We have not signed off on the square footage," he said. "We could easily build 200,000 square feet and make it comfortable, but subject to the type of tenants and specialty retail we want, it moves around. It’s not like we predesign in advance. We do focus groups with retailers and go from there."

The developer is also hoping to attract clothing boutiques and service providers.

"Another big request is a good dry cleaner, because a lot of people stay here for a few weeks at a time, and they need a place to get their clothes cleaned," he said.

Encore has yet to file any site development plans with Osceola County or South Florida Water Management District for the town center project. The site is hosting a temporary fire station now while the county completes the new Reunion Fire Station just down the road. 

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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