A conceptual site plan for the potential Orlando Fashion Square redevelopment would lean heavily on residential uses to activate the new open-air retail center, according to Unicorp National Development CEO Chuck Whittall.
Everything except the existing Macy’s store and the parking garage next to J.C. Penney would be demolished and the entire site rebuilt with a main street going from the signalized intersection on Colonial Drive through the heart of the project. The concept includes a four different apartment buildings, all five-stories with ground-floor retail, a hotel and a grocery store.
“It’s a pretty nice redesign of the site,” he said, noting the similarity to Baldwin Park Village, another Unicorp project. “This is like Baldwin Park. It’s got the grocery, it’s got the retail, it’s got the apartments."
The plan also shows an event lawn, a container park and a bowling alley with a luxury dine-in movie theater above it. Unicorp would also build a second parking garage to serve the new retail section.
Unicorp will display the plan this month at its booth at the ICSC Florida Conference & Deal Making, just ahead of the closing scheduled for September. Unicorp is paying $23 million cash for the land under Fashion Square, but still needs to reach a deal with Bancorp, which owns the mall building.
“It’s going to be a great project,” he said. “We want to make it an open-air lifestyle center. It’ll be very, very cool.”
Whittall said he plans to call Bancorp as soon as the ink is dry. “I will call them up immediately, we’ll sit down and make a deal.”
The estimated $1 billion Fashion Square redevelopment is one of 26 projects Unicorp currently has in development or in the pipeline. That includes the massive O-Town West mixed-use development on Sand Lake Road at I-4, set to close in late August, and the second takedown of Celebration Pointe at Disney’s World Drive interchange and a retail parcel in Horizon West.
“It’s the biggest two months in our company’s history," Whittall said. "Between this month and next month we’ll be closing $100 million in land deals, and that’s a lot. Everybody’s scrambling here to make sure everything comes together.”
Whittall said he expects to break ground in the first quarter of 2020 both Disney-area projects. The Horizon West parcel will be a grocery-anchored shopping center. Celebration Pointe will be a lifestyle center anchored by a 40,000-square-foot Dave & Buster’s and a grocery store.
“We’ll build the Disney project, the Horizon West project and O-Town West during the year in 2020 and we’ll finish all those in mid-2021. And then we’ll start Fashion Square – if we make a deal with Bancorp – at the end of next year,” Whittall said.