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Seminole County Developments

Flea World site in Seminole County eyed for 1,200-unit multifamily project

The 110-acre property that at one time held “the world’s largest flea market” has drawn interest from a number of developers since the destination closed in 2015.

The 110-acre property that at one time held “the world’s largest flea market” has drawn interest from a number of developers since the destination closed in 2015.

While several previous plans fell through, another proposal is now on the table for the Flea World site along U.S. 17-92 and Ronald Reagan Boulevard.

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Dallas-based Lantower Residential is requesting a pre-application meeting with Seminole County staff to discuss a project that calls for 1,200 apartment units and ten acres worth of commercial out-parcels.

Lantower has been active in Central Florida. In June, the company paid $15.5 million — the highest price per acre ever paid for land in Osceola County —for a mixed-use development site at the gateway entrance to NeoCity.

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The company is also planning to construct an apartment community in Kissimmee’s Sunrise City.

For the Flea World site, the company is looking to greatly reduce the entitlements on the property and submit a PD Amendment, according to pre-application materials submitted by Lantower’s development manager, Matthew McWilliams.

Current entitlements on the land allow for 1.7 million square feet of office/commercial space, more than 5,000 rental units, a 312-bed assisted-living facility, and a 250-room hotel.

“We are seeking information regarding the reduction of entitlements on site, process, and timing of review (Major PD Amendment vs. rezoning, FLU amendment) and review of the proposed development plan,” McWilliams wrote in a brief proposed project description.

He added that the multifamily apartments would be developed in three phases.

Early site plans by Charlan Brock Architects show four-story apartment buildings surrounding a number of lakes and ponds within three separate communities. Each community is comprised of 400 apartment units and between 720 and 741 parking spaces, renderings show.

McWilliams could not be reached for comment Monday.

The project is slated to go before the county’s development review committee Wednesday. It’s likely county staff will push for changes to the plan.

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In a comment document drafted ahead of the meeting, the county’s project manager Annie Sillaway advised that the proposal is not consistent with a section of county code that governs urban centers and urban corridors.

County staff wants to see more of a mixed-use concept — something more in line with what Toronto-based Palmeira Holdings introduced back in 2018 with its Parkside Place project.

Parkside Place promised a futuristic community complete with landing pads for drone deliveries atop high-rise apartment buildings ten stories tall and 1.4 million square feet for shops, offices, and restaurants. The plan fell through.

Parkside Place promised a futuristic community complete with landing pads for drone deliveries atop high-rise apartment buildings ten stories tall and 1.4 million square feet for shops, offices, and restaurants.

The entitlements on the property derived from this abandoned project.

“Based on the design rendering of the potential site development in the pre-application, staff would like to see more vertical construction of mixed-use development within the subject site,” Sillaway wrote regarding Lantower’s plan. “Staff supports development consistent with the entitlements established in the Parkside Place Planned Development that was approved in 2018. However, some lessening of intensity in entitlement is acceptable.”

She added that the county wants to see the Flea World site once again become a “destination location.”

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“Development that is consistent with the Parkside Place would be a way to create a destination location and sense of place for the surrounding communities,” she said, citing the property’s proximity to Seminole State College and the Seminole County Five point site.

The plan should also incorporate transportation concepts, such as areas for rideshare parking and staging, she said.

“Shuttles and buses should also be incorporated into the development for student accessibility to Seminole State College, and local retail (shops) in the area,” she wrote in the pre-application meeting report.

The county is also working to revise its land development code in order to encourage more mixed-use projects. Mary Moskowitz, the manager of the county’s planning and development division, told GrowthSpotter in September that a mixed-use zoning classification needs to be added to the county’s land development code.

“That’s really going to allow us to streamline some of those mixed-use developments that we want to see along our transportation corridor and near the SunRail station,” she said at the time. " Hopefully by implementing this code change, it will make it easier for those types of developments to occur.”

Moskowitz said she wants to see the emergence of mixed-use projects similar to Lake Mary’s Colonial Town Park and Griffin Farm at Midtown.

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Before it closed in 2015 and the rickety go-cart track was bulldozed, Flea World was one of Seminole’s main attractions.

Shoppers check out the bargains at Flea World.

Hundreds of booths offered bargains on just about everything — including $5 watches, camouflage pants, Fred Flintstone bobbleheads, shock absorbers, kitschy portraits of Jesus painted on black velvet, and plates of greasy food as big as car tires, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The land was gifted to the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida after Flea World owner Syd Levy died in 2018.

In 2021, GrowthSpotter reported that home builder Taylor Morrison was under contract to buy the Flea World property for $19.2 million.

That plan also fell through.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at (407)-800-1161 or dwyatt@GrowthSpotter.com, or tweet me at @DustinWyattGS. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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