Retail Dining Developments

Dr. Phillips reboots Packing District food hall plans, adds 4 commercial buildings

The former Great Southern Box Company building will be redeveloped as a food hall. Dr. Phillips Charities will erect a tall orange monument sign marking the entrance to The Packing District.

More than a year after the Dr. Phillips Charities revealed design concepts for the much anticipated Packing District food hall, the master developer is now gearing up to start work on the project that will anchor a major section of the 202-acre redevelopment district.

Dr. Phillips has filed a master plan for 6 acres at the southeast quadrant of the Princeton Street — Orange Blossom Trail intersection. The food hall, an adaptive reuse of the 1930s-era Great Southern Box Company building at 2105 N. Orange Blossom Trail, will comprise the first phase of the project. The building plan shows the facility would have a central bar area, about 15 food and retail vendors, a 3,770-square-foot restaurant and a 3,000-square-foot event space with its own commercial kitchen and staging area.


Lead architect Joel A Setze, founder of dap design, discussed the firm’s design approach in 2019 when the project team was announced. “The food hall design approach will celebrate the existing building’s form and utilize its large structural bays as a passive connection to outdoor green space,” he said. “The project will be tightly woven into the fabric of what The Packing District will be and have a strong connection to its larger context and community.”

The recently-filed master plan shows the internal layout of the Packing District food hall, a 2-story commercial building, a small "jewel-box" cafe and the adaptive reuse of a transmission building that would overlook a large pond.

The developer is asking for a special determination to allow two temporary gravel parking lots to serve the food hall facility. Dr. Phillips Charities President Ken Robinson declined to speak with GrowthSpotter for this article.


For the first time, the master plan offers details of subsequent phases planned for the southeast quadrant. Those include four new commercial buildings, a 5-level parking garage and the adaptive reuse of the roughly 5,900-square-foot Bronco John’s Transmission building at 2021 N. Orange Blossom Trail.

“As we laid out the vision for this once industrial area of the city, our goal was to repurpose as many of the buildings on property as possible to capture and preserve a piece of the history of this special place in Dr. Phillips’ and Orlando’s history,” Robinson said in 2019.

Future phases could include two commercial buildings at the corner of Princeton Street and Orange Blossom Trail and a 5-level parking garage.

The new commercial buildings range in size and scope from a 1,300-square-foot “jewel box” cafe building next to the food hall to a 7-story, 76,300-square-foot commercial building fronting on Princeton. A 3-story, 23,100-square-foot building and 2-story, 10,000-square-foot building would flank the driveway entrance from Orange Blossom Trail.

Z Development Services is listed as the civil engineer and owner’s agent. Dix.Hite Partners is the landscape engineer.

The northeast quadrant of the Princeton — Orange Blossom Trail should also see more construction activity this year. The Cannery apartments will open to residents in March. Dr. Phillips has applied for building permits for the replica juice stand at the corner, which will be the first phase of the retail development for that quadrant. Also noted in Phase 1 are three retail/restaurant buildings fronting on each of the main streets. Those buildings would range in size from 4,200-8,000 square feet. A nearly 30,000-square-foot grocery store would be constructed in the second phase.

The Packing District Park at Princeton and John Young Parkway is under construction and scheduled for completion this fall. That includes the new Orlando Tennis Centre and lake. Dr. Phillips Charities last summer gifted the city $1.5 million to build a 6,000-square-foot pavilion at the park “to create an active center within the new park that would serve as a destination for not only nearby residents but also visitors from across Central Florida.”

Toll Brothers is expected to close this month on the adjacent 8-acre lot, which is approved for 134 townhomes. The luxury builder should open its first model in October, according to the master timeline.

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