The owners of Orlando’s Colonial Plaza have had preliminary discussions with city planners to demolish two big-box retail stores to clear the way for hundreds of new apartments.
Kimco Realty Corporation, one of the nation’s largest owner-operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers, acquired Colonial Plaza in 2021 through its merger with Weingarten Realty Investors last August. In the last year, the shopping center has welcomed new retailers Conn’s Home Plus in the former Floor & Decor space and Sprouts Farmers Market in what used to be SteinMart.
Now Kimco is considering razing the Barnes & Noble, PetCo and the Goodyear tire store for new construction at the signalized intersection of N Bumby Avenue and Concord Street. Foot Locker and Five Below could also be impacted.
“Mixed-use elements add a built-in customer base to support the existing retail,” Peter Flint, Kimco’s vice president of development, told GrowthSpotter. “Furthermore, this market has a lack of quality rental units and a limited supply of mixed-use developments, which are the future retail and residential as they create the convenient and dynamic, 24-7 live/work/play environment that consumers are seeking.”
Flint said the plaza is large enough to accommodate the existing tenants, should they choose to relocate.
Flint and Greenberg Traurig’s Julie Kendig-Schrader had a pre-application meeting in January with city planners, where they shared conceptual plans for new infill development ranging from in height from 5-8 stories.
All of the concepts would utilize structured parking, either a podium or wrap configuration. And all of the designs include a component of ground-floor retail space. Boutique shops, convenience retail and restaurants tend to be the most popular tenants in mixed-use residential buildings, Flint said.
Baltimore-based BCT Design Group compiled the preliminary study, which included options with a single building or two separate buildings that would split the project into phases. In one plan, the parking garage is in phase one, and the phase 2 building is linked by a pedestrian bridge over Concord Street.
While Kimco doesn’t have a specific unit count, Flint noted the market “indicates a significant lack of units in the immediate area.” Typical projects offer a range of 250 to 350 units, he said.
One of the key factors that the developer has to consider is the height restrictions on the property due to its proximity to Orlando Executive Airport. The redevelopment site lies within two different zones, one with a height restriction of 200 feet above sea level and the other with a 300-foot maximum height. The existing site elevation is approximately 100 feet above sea level, so most of the concepts cap the building height at 75 feet. One concept shows two buildings: a 7-story building north of Concord with 242 units and a 14-story building south of Concord with 275 units.
The property has AC-3 (Activity Center) zoning with Aircraft Noise Overlay, which allows for high-intensity commercial, residential and cultural uses.
Across the nation, mall owners have been injecting new life into tired shopping centers by converting them into mixed-use communities. Bancorp, owner of Orlando Fashion Square, unveiled plans last year for a multi-phased redevelopment that would add 1,400 residential units, a hotel plus another 177,000 square feet of new retail uses.
Orlando’s City Council approved a new master framework plan for Fashion Square in December. New Jersey-based M & M Realty, a joint-venture between Edgewood Properties founder Jack Morris and JMP Holdings President Joe Marino, would lead the project.
Meanwhile, Trammell Crow Residential has commenced construction on the Alexan at Mills 50 at the corner of Colonial and Fern Creek Avenue. The 5-story, mixed-use building will have 246 residential units, including 15 live-work units on the ground floor.
The East Colonial corridor is also drawing interest from Mill Creek Residential Trust, the Boca Raton developer behind Orlando’s Modera Central and Modera Creative Village. Damon Kolb, managing director for development, is one of two Mill Creek executives who met recently with planning staff from the City of Orlando to discuss plans for an 8-story apartment building at 740 Bennett Rd. on land currently occupied by Gilt nightclub. The site is just east of Orlando Fashion Square mall and north of the U-Haul facility on Colonial Drive.