A local hospitality investor is preparing land near Orlando International Airport for another off-site airport parking lot, but plans to pair the business with solar panel sales.
Located at 7833 Narcoossee Road, just north of the intersection with S.R. 528, the 9.7-acre parcel has sat vacant since August 2015 when an affiliate of hotel owner-operator Vamshi Reddy paid $1.4 million for the land.
Reddy initially filed a Master Plan in 2015 with the city of Orlando that proposed airport parking to start, followed by the option of a 140-key hotel and 45,000-square-foot entertainment center for redevelopment.
He hasn't developed the land since, and is approaching a two-year deadline with the city to make progress with permitting. Reddy filed a request on May 10 for Final Site Plan determination and appearance review for the Phase 1 development.
"There have been some delays on our part, but at this point in time we are working with the city on a deadline that is tomorrow," he told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. "Likely in the next three to six months we should have our project up and running there."
The proposal now is for a long-term parking lot with 800 spaces dubbed "First Green Park," an independent brand created by Reddy. Twenty-five percent of the spaces would be car ports with roofing covered by solar panels.
An 8,000-square-foot building would serve as the parking service's office. But it would be shared with a separate retail business selling solar panels.
"We'll sell the (solar panels) for third-party manufacturers. The uniqueness we're bringing to the table is this location will have the product on display to show customers its performance," and better demonstrate the cost-to-performance ratio of competing panels, Reddy said.
A general contractor has yet to be hired for the parking lot and building, which Reddy estimated at $7.5 million for total project cost. Vertical construction plans are being developed for submission after FSP approval.
Florida could be primed for an increase in residential solar panel demand after an April decision by regulators removed a roadblock to consumer panel leasing.
Sunrun, Inc., the largest U.S. residential solar company, wants to expand its business in the state of leasing panels to consumers. But in Florida utilities have been the only entities that could legally sell electricity.
Sunrun sought clarification of that policy, and in April the Florida Public Service Commission ruled that 20-year solar equipment leases by the company aren't considered retail sale fo electricity, according to a Bloomberg report.
The commission said Sunrun and similar companies don't require its approval before starting to lease panels. Leasing lets consumers get rooftop panels with little upfront cost, compared to having to purchase or finance the entire system before installation.
Florida ranks third in the U.S. among states for potential rooftop solar demand and 12th in installations, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.