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Redevelopment of Sentinel property could take decade or more

Redevelopment of Sentinel property could take decade or more

The redevelopment of key downtown property that is home to the Orlando Sentinel likely would take a decade or more to complete, a city planning official said Wednesday.

Planning documents filed Tuesday by an affiliate of Tribune Media Co. — the Sentinel's landlord — also show that the project would happen in as many as six phases.

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Tribune Real Estate Holdings LLC submitted a redevelopment plan last month for the two blocks bounded by Colonial Drive to the north, Amelia Street to the south, Orange Avenue to the west and Magnolia Avenue to the east. That initial plan, which was split into two phases, called for 746 apartments, 280,000 square feet of office space, 56,000 square feet of retail, a parking garage and a 144-unit hotel.

The updated documents show redevelopment divided into six phases and include fewer details about what would actually be built, other than a general mix of retail, residential, office and hotel development.

City planners felt the initial plan submitted last month, with four- or five-story buildings, didn't include dense enough residential development. Updated plans show only how much of each land use would be allowed under city code, with a minimum of 1,402 residential units and a maximum of 3,738, spread over the two-block, 18.7 acre site.

Murray McQueen, president of Tribune Real Estate Holdings, did not return a call seeking comment.

A city official said the company does not have a development team in place.

The first two phases would be on the southern half of the Orlando Sentinel campus, south of Concord Street. That land is mostly unused surface parking lots, as well as three small office buildings — two occupied by tenants, the third vacant — and so would be available for construction the soonest.

Later phases include mixed-use development where the Sentinel's offices now sit along Orange Avenue, just south of Colonial Drive, and a hotel and residential development along Colonial. The Sentinel currently has a long-term lease on its building.

The building that houses the Sentinel's printing presses — which would be costly and cumbersome to move — are saved for the final phase of redevelopment under the updated plan.

Development will be driven by market demand, and specific uses for each phase could change.

Orlando's Municipal Planning Board will be asked to approve the general framework for development next month. But developers will have to seek specific master plan approval from the planning board for each phase as it moves forward.

mschlueb@tribune.com, 407-420-5417407-420-5417 or Twitter @MarkSchlueb

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