As the shopping center's owner, developer and manager, Sutton Properties will take the next 60 days to develop civil and architectural plans. He expects to submit those for building permits in 90 days, following approval of its development plan on Wednesday by Orange County.
The project remains on pace to break ground in the third quarter, said Sutton. He noted the company will pursue a traditonal construction loan but has yet to start the process.
Sutton announced in late April plans to expand the outlet mall by 110,000 square feet of leasable space, and to be open by Summer 2016, the property's 20th anniversary.
The $22 million expansion will be built on an adjacent tract to the existing 238,000-square-foot shopping center on SR 535, which lies off I-4's exit 68.
Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores currently has 50 retail and restaurant tenants at the outlet mall. It could add another 20 or more with the new wing, which is roughly half the size of the current site.
Sutton said Thursday that a general contractor has still not been hired for the project, but one will be chosen in the next three to four months. He may start interviewing candidates as soon as next week at RECon 2015 in Las Vegas, a global trade show for the shopping center industry.
"We will have some early talks with contractors there but won't choose one yet," he said. "We're looking for (a contractor) with a good reputation, proven efficiency and good value for our money."
Sutton Properties previously worked with Keene Construction Co. of Central Florida in 1995 for the original building of Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores. Keene Construction has since ceased to operate.
Sutton's leasing strategy for the new stores will focus heavily on attracting international brands and retailers that have limited market presence in the United States, but are well-established overseas. Brazilian chains that want to expand to Orlando will be of particular interest, Sutton said.
New tenant lease agreements could be announced in the next 30 to 60 days, he added.
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