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City Center West Orange sitework to ramp up in November, developer nears EB-5 goal

An early rendering of the projected layout of City Center West Orange in Ocoee, with Lake Bennet to its south.
An early rendering of the projected layout of City Center West Orange in Ocoee, with Lake Bennet to its south. (Handout)

The completion of horizontal sitework and remaining infrastructure should begin in November on the $150 million-first phase of City Center West Orange, with a third of the budget nearly raised from 100 foreign investors through the EB-5 visa program, a lead executive with the developer told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday.

The Ocoee City Commission unanimously approved on Tuesday a developer's agreement and site plan for the mixed-use project, which will be located south of Maine Street, east of Bluford Avenue and north of W. Colonial Drive adjoining Lake Bennet, on a total site area of 43.22 acres (33.27 developable).

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The development's first phase will include two buildings of up to eight stories each with structured parking, a combined 456 condo units, more than 172,110 square feet of retail space and a 122-room hotel.

The developer's agreement commits the city to produce roughly $9.3 million in financial incentives for the project, including impact fee credits on water and sewer, and the waiving of other development fees. The developer, Park Development Corp., will pay for road construction and other infrastructure.

Clearing of trees is under way on the site, and engineering work for the development's first phase is done. Infrastructure sitework is tentatively set to begin Nov. 1 with delivery of materials and tearing up of existing roads, with utilities to be installed and new roads paved over eight months that follow, said David Townsend, CEO with Park Development.

Vertical construction on the project's first phase would start immediately after, he added, projected for July 2017.

Central Site Development has been hired to lead the sitework and underground utilities, and Tutor Perini Building Corp. has been selected as general contractor for the first phase of vertical construction next year.

Park Development's affiliate EB5 Florida Real Estate Regional Center is USCIS-approved for EB-5 foreign investments, and has been approved for $100 million by the government agency, Townsend said.

The company is approaching $50 million in committed EB-5 funds (100 investors), he said. The remaining $100 million needed for the project's Phase 1 budget would come from a "variety of private capital sources available to us."

Foreign investors were told last year they can expect a 2.75 percent rate of return annually on their $500,000 investments and equity in the project. Townsend has claimed the development will create 4,320 jobs, and is the largest EB-5 regional project in Florida.

City Center West Orange's hotel has been planned for the past year as a Hilton Garden Inn, but that flag could still change to a boutique brand, something the development team is exploring now, Townsend said.

To be developed over three phases, City Center West Orange is projected to have 2,500 condo and apartment units, buildings dedicated to short-term vacation rentals, 500,000 square feet of retail, the hotel and recreational trails.

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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