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Retail Dining Developments

Hill Gray Seven plans new development in Winter Park on Lee Road and at site of 50-year-old strip mall near Full Sail

An Oviedo-based developer is bringing new life to two prime pieces of real estate in Winter Park.

Hill Gray Seven paid $9.9 million in April for an assemblage of four parcels across from Full Sail University with plans to demolish an existing 50-year-old shopping center to make room for new restaurants and retailers, according to CBRE Executive Vice President James Mitchell, who represents the developer.

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On Aug. 29, the company dropped another $8 million on another infill development site at the corner of Orlando Avenue and Lee Road, across from Whole Foods.

This property, at one of Winter Park’s busiest intersections, is currently vacant.

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While it’s not yet known what tenants will day move into these sites, both of the recent acquisitions involve land that should easily attract national brands, Mitchell said.

“On great real estate pieces, you don’t close with anyone targeted in mind,” he added. “We really closed and said we are going to let the market come to us. And it has.”

Since buying University Shoppes, a roughly 32,000-square-foot strip mall on S Semoran Blvd., Mitchell said they’ve had discussions with several companies interested in moving onto the land.

“We have a couple of national businesses that want to locate there, whether new-to-market concepts or concepts that are already in the Orlando market,” Mitchell said. “That hard corner obviously is very valuable with Full Sail University right there. It is fantastic property. Stuff like this in the Orlando market just doesn’t come up but once in a blue moon.”

The shopping center, built in 1973, is currently home to nearly a dozen businesses, including a popular diner. With demolition imminent, owners have been told their leases will not be renewed.

Mitchell said Hill Gray Seven will likely file development plans to Orange County by the end of the year.

“It’s unfortunate for the owners who have been there for a long time, but development is good and progress is good. And this is going to be progress,” he said.

Gregg Hill, owner of Hill Gray Seven, did not return emails or phone calls seeking comment.

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Redevelopment projects are nothing new to the Oviedo-based company, which has an expansive footprint across Central Florida.

Recently, in Winter Park, the company transformed the former Ranch mall site at 415 S. Orlando Ave into a modern urban development featuring a mix of luxury retail, restaurant, and office space across two buildings.

Today, tenants at the Palm Hills shopping center include Paris Baguette, Superica Tex-Mex, Just Salad Buff City Soap, Ideal Dental and more.

In addition to a number of multi-tenant retail and restaurant sites in the Orlando area, the company also built out a luxury townhome community near Winter Park’s downtown district.

Mitchell said neither the Lee Road site nor the Semoran Boulevard property will feature a residential component.

The property across from Full Sail University had been previously owned by an entity titled Management Team Inc. for the past decade. Tenants of the plaza include Johnny’s Diner, Buddy’s Home Furnishing, A Comic Shop, Campus Cards and Games and more. The assemblage also includes the former Citgo gas station on the corner, a cross fit gym and a Chinese restaurant.

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The property at the corner of Lee Road and Orlando Avenue was previously owned by an entity titled Up Fieldgates Us Investments, which also owns Whole Foods across the street.

Jill Rose and JP Beaulieu of Bishop Beale Duncan represented the seller in the deal.

Rose told GrowthSpotter that 86,000 cars per day travel through that intersection, located next to Winter Park Village. Before closing the deal with Hill Gray Seven, she said they got 15 calls per week regarding the property.

“It was really the last available corner of this heavily retailed intersection,” she said. “Every single tenant user that is not in the market wanted to be there.”

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at (407)-800-1161 or dwyatt@GrowthSpotter.com, or tweet me at @DustinWyattGS. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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