Dowdy Properties, a mainstay commercial real estate owner and operator on International Drive, has a new inline retail building next to Universal Orlando's former Wet 'n Wild property that's fully leased with tenants new to the submarket, and plans to clear land for another new building next year.
Located at 6304 International Dr., the recently completed building includes 8,963 square feet of conditioned area that is now fully leased, with tenants to finish interior buildout and open in the coming months, Megan Dowdy, the family-owned company's real estate broker, told GrowthSpotter on Monday.
Waffle House is in permit review with the city of Orlando to take the anchor space for its first restaurant on I-Drive. Subway is now open, a $1.99 Store will be the third tenant, and Coco Thai Cuisine is about a month out from opening its first restaurant in the tourism corridor, she said.
Inline space is unique for Waffle House, which are corporate-owned and typically develop stand-alone restaurants on outparcels.
The company has one inline retail location in Clermont. With I-Drive being a target market for its growth plan, this inline end-cap space was the best option for the company considering the cost barrier of outparcels with I-Drive frontage, Dowdy said.
Behind the property is the Dowdy-owned and operated Lost Caverns Adventure Golf (6306 I-Drive), and to its immediate northeast is the former Wet 'n Wild water park where Universal Orlando is planning new hotel towers, for which a Planned Development rezoning ordinance had its second reading Monday at City Council.
The neighboring parcel to its immediate southwest (6308 I-Drive) has a closed retail building on its rear with 2,938 square feet of conditioned area, last leased by the George & Dragon British Pub, which closed in 2016.
The Dowdys plan to demolish that closed building and develop another multi-tenant inline retail strip in its place that mirrors the first, or is potentially larger than 9,000 square feet.
"This second building plan was in the works before Universal Orlando came out with its hotel plans for the Wet 'n Wild property, we already wanted to redevelop our site because the demand is there," Dowdy said. 'I had four strong tenants lined up for the (first) new building before it was completed."
The Dowdys will develop the second building as a shell for subdivision later by interested tenants, a different approach from how they handled the first building.
"It will be much easier for us and future tenants to work with the city if we don't have subdivided spaces in advance," Dowdy said.
Upcoming application and review periods with the city for a site plan and construction plans will likely push development of the second building to First Quarter 2018, she added.