The large Hungerford redevelopment site in the Town of Eatonville has drawn in more bids than its previous two attempts combined.
Four parties have submitted bids in response to Orange County Public Schools’ Request for Proposal (RFP), each looking for a chance to buy and develop more than 90 acres of land with major visibility on the east side of Interstate 4.
Parties with skin in the game include a partnership between Sovereign Land Company and Keewin Real Property Company; Boca Raton-based developer The Falcone Group; a partnership between Atrium Management Company, Winter Park-based commercial developer Chesterfield LLC and Orlando-based PRN Real Estate & Investments; and DeBartolo Development.
For at least two of the contenders, the RFP isn’t anything new.
Sovereign Land Company and Falcone Group each submitted bids in April, but both were rejected by the district’s selection committee for not meeting particular application requirements.
Kyle Sanders, president of Sovereign Land Co., told GrowthSpotter he’s much more confident with his chances this time around and adds he brought on land developer Keewin Real Property Co. to help close the deal. The two companies have partnered together on multiple deals in the region.
“[Alan Keen, chairman and owner of Keewin Real Property Co.,] has a great track record in the Orlando area. I figured it would be a great value,” Sanders said. “He has all the resources needed to entitle and close the deal...Between all our consultants, we have a wealth of knowledge on the property.”
The Falcone Group, led by Margaritaville and Reunion developer Art Falcone, also submitted bids earlier this year. The most recent bid would be its second attempt at taking over plans.
“The Falcone Group is humbled to participate in the Wymore Road/Hungerford Property RFP process, and we sincerely hope that we’re selected to implement the thoughtful vision outlined over the years by the Town of Eatonville and its residents,” Alfonso Costa Jr., an executive vice president at Falcone Group, said in a statement.
In an email response to GrowthSpotter, Kaycee Gardner, vice president of development at Chesterfield, said the partnership between the company, Atrium Management Co. and PRN Real Estate & Investments came together through a longstanding relationship.
She believes the property is well-suited for a mix of multifamily, office and industrial development.
“We all share the same passion of utilizing our resources in support of the growth and prosperity of the Eatonville community,” she said in a statement. “Our development plan supports the community through training, technology, research, e-commerce, office, retail and housing.”
Representatives at DeBartolo respectfully declined comment.
Adam Wonus with Atrium Management is an avid investor in Orlando, who proposed and later withdrew plans to build the Henderson Hotel project in Winter Park.
Tampa-based DeBartolo Development is behind a plethora of multifamily communities throughout Central Florida, with planned projects underway in the busy Four Corners area, the Orlando submarket and Sanford.
The Hungerford RFP states the Town of Eatonville and OCPS are seeking to select a developer capable of delivering an urban, pedestrian-friendly, infill community that mixes different housing products (rental or owner options) with uses that include retail, restaurant, office and civic.
The land-use plan envisioned by the Town will allow up to 400 residential units, 800,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of retail space.
Design criteria standards specify wanting a designated office development corridor fronting Wymore Road, a retail complex along Kennedy Boulevard and a civic/cultural arts area adjacent to the existing branch library.
The 94-acre site on the east side of I-4 is where the former Robert Hungerford Preparatory School once operated before closing in 2009.
The RFP was issued by Orange County Public Schools earlier this summer, shortly following several failed attempts to lure in a developer with a proposal that checked all of the RFP’s requirements.
In a recent interview with the Orlando Sentinel, the school district’s attorney Amy Envall said “finding a developer has been a long process, but it’s essential that we find the right fit for the Town of Eatonville.”
Sanders believes a hot real estate market has helped lure in more interest to the property, which at the height of the pandemic, received zero bids.
“I think it’s just a reflection of the strength of the real estate market in Orlando,” he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include quotes from a representative at Chesterfield LLC.