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Ocoee negotiating with new developer for infill project across from City Hall

This rendering was created by the City of Ocoee as part of its plans to revitalize it's downtown area. The new developer is planning a 3-story product with residential units over ground-floor retail and commercial space.
This rendering was created by the City of Ocoee as part of its plans to revitalize it's downtown area. The new developer is planning a 3-story product with residential units over ground-floor retail and commercial space. (City of Ocoee)

GPK Real Estate, an Orlando-based company led by developer Jeff Adelman, made an unsolicited offer to build a mixed-use development in downtown Ocoee, after the first planned contract fell through earlier this year.

Under Adelman’s proposal, his company GPK Fund II LLC would purchase a half-acre lot at 2 N. Bluford Ave. from the city at the time of completion.

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The proposed agreement then states the city will convey fee simple title to the property for $100. The city would reserve the right to maintain any necessary easements on the property as part of the transaction.

Adelman has previously worked at Elevation Development and Lennar Homes as a development manager. Currently, he’s the director of real estate for GPK Fund II, according to his LinkedIn page.

A perspective of envisioned plans for the 2 N. Bluford Ave. property.
A perspective of envisioned plans for the 2 N. Bluford Ave. property. (City of Ocoee)

City Commissioners voted Monday to allow staff to move forward and prepare a sales contract/agreement with GPK Investments.

City Manager Rob Frank told GrowthSpotter the developer would have to adhere to certain minimum design and construction parameters in order to qualify for the city property transfer.

“We have been looking to partner with a developer to help realize the city’s vision on this downtown corner parcel, which will be directly across the street from the new city hall,” he said. “We expect the final plan to include retail and restaurants, along with living units and professional office space.”

Submitted plans show the development plan calls for two, three-story buildings that will feature a total of up to 40,000 square feet of ground floor retail and office space and 34 townhouse units above.

A conceptual site plan of what GPK Fund II LLC is proposing at 2 N. Bluford Avenue.
A conceptual site plan of what GPK Fund II LLC is proposing at 2 N. Bluford Avenue. (City of Ocoee)

The city bought the lot in 2017 for $344,350 using utilities funding. Upon transfer, Ocoee would need to reimburse the utilities fund. The building previously on site, was built in the 1950′s and the City of Ocoee demolished the structure earlier this year.

The mixed-use project is part of the city’s initial $43 million redevelopment plan, where city staff created a vision for the downtown block that’s compatible with efforts to attract more economic development and support a growing number of residents moving to the area.

The lot was originally under contract with VMG Construction, Inc., which offered to build the city’s rendered plan for a total construction cost of about $5 million. But earlier this spring, VMG representatives terminated their agreement with the city.

Construction of the new City Hall is anticipated to begin in May. The structure is slated to house all of the City Hall staff and provide ground floor spaces for retail and food services.

Representatives at the company were not immediately available to comment.

Another unsolicited offer proposing to build a bed and breakfast on the site was rejected by the city commission in February.

The city’s downtown master plan includes an $8 million downtown stormwater system and a nearly $10 million project to reconstruct Bluford Avenue. The Lakeshore Center expansion is nearly complete, and a new lakefront park and City Hall are underway.

Last year, GrowthSpotter reported the city singled-out a design for its new building that uses a combination of brick masonry with precast concrete.

The new City Hall is estimated to cost $12 million, with $9 million coming from a 2017 General Fund Bond.

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Ocoee’s population has nearly tripled since the initial City Hall was built in the mid-1990s from 17,000 residents to more than 50,000, according to the American Community Survey.

Developers active in the area include Richard Wohlfarth of Wohlfarth Consulting Group, who is developing roughly 70 vacant acres in the city into a bustling master-planned community equipped with apartments, townhomes and more than 150,000 square feet of commercial space.

Other heavyweight homebuilders active in the area include Mattamy Homes and Lennar Homes.

Mattamy is in the midst of developing its 303-lot Preserve at Crown Point gated community, while Lennar continues to expand its Arden Park North subdivision around Lake Sims.

Last year, GrowthSpotter reported D.R Horton submitted plans to annex roughly 200 acres into the city for a new 381-unit subdivision.

Ocoee isn’t alone in seeking Public Private Partnerships to bring vitality to their central business districts. Earlier this summer, Haines City agreed to partner with Feltrim Group on an infill mixed-use project next to its City Hall.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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