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Phoenicia Development pushes forward with plans for South I-Drive parcels

Phoenicia Development pushes forward with plans for South I-Drive parcels
Based on the east side of S. I-Drive, north of the intersection with S. Westwood Boulevard, lie four parcels with 2,800 feet of frontage that Phoenicia acquired in 2006. Three highlighted in blue have yet to be developed. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

Orlando-based Phoenicia Development is approaching the home stretch for its 39-acre property on S. International Drive, with ground set to break in November on multifamily and retail parcels that neighbor its Orchid Bay Plaza shopping center, CEO Tom Harb told GrowthSpotter.

Based on the east side of S. I-Drive, north of the intersection with S. Westwood Boulevard, lie four parcels with 2,800 feet of frontage that Phoenicia acquired in 2006, and has sat on for most of the past decade.

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The property stands to gain from Orange County's planned widening of a 2.5-mile stretch of I-Drive between the points of S. Westwood and N. Westwood Boulevard, with a new median and expansion from four lanes to six lanes. Construction should start this August, with Orange County estimating the cost at $21.6 million.

The developer waited out the economic recession and built its 61,173-square-foot Orchid Bay Plaza on the 10-acre second parcel in 2012.

Phoenicia then formed a partnership over the past year with Altamonte Springs-based LeCesse Development Corp. to build the 288-unit Ancora Apartments on the 16.5-acre third parcel. That $45 million project should now break ground in November.

The developer's southernmost parcel of 9.3 acres is now Harb's focus, after investing roughly $2 million in site work and utilities. Its first phase will consist of an 8,000-square-foot retail building, with Dunkin' Donuts the first tenant signed to lease 2,000 square feet, he said.

IHOP has been signed for a land lease to build its own restaurant on a free-standing pad, and Harb is negotiating another restaurant pad for lease at the parcel's intersection corner.

Behind the retail building and two restaurants, Phoenicia has a Letter of Intent (LOI) in place with a hotel group for roughly a third of the 9.3 acres, which would buy that land (to be subdivided off) and build two limited service hotels with around 120 rooms each, Harb said.

The fourth and northernmost parcel, at 3.32 acres, is also being negotiated for a potential hotel, Harb said. It would not be affiliated with the Marriott Ownership Resorts property neighboring it to the north.

The Orchid Bay parcels' entitlements boast 869 multifamily units and 55,000 square feet of building space.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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