The owner of Colonial Plaza is considering an even more drastic redevelopment than previously thought, where nearly half of the existing retail store would be demolished to make way for new infill development.
GrowthSpotter first reported in February that Kimco Realty Corporation had preliminary discussions with Orlando planning officials about redeveloping a portion of the shopping center at the intersection of Colonial Drive and Bumby Avenue. The initial discussions focused on the potential to demolish Barnes & Noble, PetCo and the Goodyear tire store to replace them with mixed-use residential buildings.
Since that time, the landlord has expanded the study area to include all of the shops along N. Bumby Avenue between Walgreens and The Plaza Live venue, including the new Sprouts grocery store that opened in the former SteinMart, all the way down to Old Navy, according to a study shared with city planners during a June pre-application meeting. The building that currently houses Starbucks and Too Jay’s deli could also be razed to create a new mixed-use section that would be enhanced with public greenspace.
Two big-box stores on the south side of the plaza, Marshall’s and Conn’s Home Plus, would also be replaced with apartments, according to the updated conceptual plans.
Jennifer Marsch, vice president for marketing, told GrowthSpotter the plans are still in their very early stages. “We are only just beginning to have discussions, both internally and with our external stakeholders,” she noted. Company officials will have a clearer direction of its plan in a few months.
Baltimore-based BCT Design Group compiled the study, which sought to achieve five primary goals:
- Extend the street grid thru the site
- Heal the earth by decreasing asphalt coverage while maximizing native vegetation
- Create a hierarchy of pedestrian friendly activated streets
- Establish commercial districts and residential neighborhoods
- Provide placemaking and programing to foster public buy in
BCT created three alternative options to redevelop the entire study with new housing, and retail and other commercial uses. All feature a mix of 5-, 6- and 7-story mixed-use residential buildings with structured parking and ground floor retail on well-defined urban blocks.
Option 1 calls for 1,105 residential units spread among four separate buildings — three of which would have retail and restaurants on the ground floor. The largest apartment building would be six stories with 400 units and parking for 600. The retail node, where the Starbucks building is now, would be rebuilt as a piazza and restaurant hub with 35,500 square feet of leasible space and 142 parking spaces. The gross building area would be 1.34 million square feet.
Option 2 is nearly 1.5 million square feet total and calls for 1,252 residential units spread among four different buildings and 57,200 square feet of retail space. The location and massing for the commercial node is similar, but in this plan the mixed-use buildings are separated by a wide linear park in the center of the community. The largest apartment building would face N. Bumby, which would be enhanced with new landscaping and street trees.
The third option has the highest level of intensity because it incorporates similar entitlements for residential uses but adds more retail, as well as 81,000 square feet of office space. This proposal increases the retail development to nearly 116,000 square feet. The office buildings would be three stories over ground-level retail and the restaurant building on the piazza is considerably smaller. This is the only plan that doesn’t show a 7-story building, but the gross building area would be around 1.55 million square feet.
Kimco acquired Colonial Plaza in 2021 through its merger with Weingarten Realty Investors last August. The property has AC-3 (Activity Center) zoning with Aircraft Noise Overlay, which allows for high-intensity commercial, residential and cultural uses. The company embarked on a national strategy to infuse new energy into its retail portfolio by replacing struggling tenants with mixed-use development. That includes preliminary plans to raze a vacant SteinMart store and other big boxes at Marketplace at Dr. Phillips and develop infill communities with mixed-use residential buildings.
Peter Flint, the company’s vice president of development, told Orange County planners the Dr. Phillips redevelopment, if approved, would stretch over multiple phases over the next 10 to 20 years. Given the amount of new construction envisioned in the Colonial Plaza redevelopment, it’s likely that project would be phased over several years.
“One of the things that we have found that has helped our retailers find success and stay in business is to have a mix of uses on the property,” Flint said. “We’ve found that these mixed-use projects are typically well-received in these communities.”