El Shaddai Church rep pushes TOD concept near future Meadow Woods SunRail

An early-stage TOD concept plan from the El Shaddai Church property owner, which proposes mixed-use (red) and a multi-modal transfer station (red dots) that would neighbor the future SunRail station.
An early-stage TOD concept plan from the El Shaddai Church property owner, which proposes mixed-use (red) and a multi-modal transfer station (red dots) that would neighbor the future SunRail station. (Franklin, Hart & Reid Civil Engineers)

Orlando's El Shaddai Christian Church could have redevelopment plans ready to submit by November for roughly 170 acres it owns near the future Meadow Woods SunRail station, southwest of Orlando International Airport, a real estate advisor for the church told GrowthSpotter.

The closed golf course property has been owned by the church since 2008. Orange County planning staff has studied the site in the past, but no formal plans have followed.


Jose Hoyos, a real estate developer and former broker who sold the property to El Shaddai, is now advising the church to propose its land for a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), which includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and other amenities in a walkable neighborhood that's located within a half-mile of quality public transportation, according to federal standards.

He envisions an inter-modal transfer "College Station" with mixed-use development, positioned directly south of the S. Orange Avenue-Fairway Woods Boulevard intersection, where the Meadow Woods SunRail station is expected to be built.

Hoyos wants to propose a combination of market-rate and affordable multi-family developments for the church's property, all within walking distance of a College Station office and retail center, where private and technical colleges can lease space for satellite campuses to position themselves close to the growing populations of Osceola and South Orange counties.

The church, as property owner, has yet to submit any applications for a development plan or file the paperwork needed for a pre-application meeting with Orange County planning staff. Redevelopment of the golf course property will require a future land-use amendment, and likely a re-zoning of the property to a new Planned Development (PD). Orange County also would need to create a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district that Hoyos believes is integral to build the proposed multi-modal facility.

Hoyos projects a hotel with convention center as well near College Station that would take advantage of future rail and bus connectivity to Orlando International Airport, and a proposed Amtrak inter-state rail stop.

An inter-modal station could be built on roughly 30 acres of Orange County land currently used for water mitigation. Storm water retention needs for the area could be refocused on southern fairways of the golf course land owned by the church, which would be excavated and turned into ponds.

"We will lead this redevelopment, and our suggestions will create the ridership needed to have this station be self-sustaining after Year Seven, with 100 percent fare-box revenue share," he said. "A TIF PPP district is the construction financing tool to make it happen. We have talked to local residents at length about this redevelopment, and they've given us clear feedback about needs for housing, grocery and primary care medicine."

Hoyos believes a TIF district can be established so that increases in property taxes collected within a designated area around Meadow Woods would allow public entities to take out bonds of up to $80 million for public construction of an inter-modal facility.

The church would sell or lease parcels of its land for development, along with development rights for portions of the southern golf course fairways that would be turned into retention ponds. That money would be put into 501(c)(3) entities by the church to be re-invested in the local community.

Hoyos said the church would move to submit initial development plans with Orange County after Sept. 28, when the Florida Department of Transportation, federal and local officials gather in Kissimmee to sign the full funding grant agreement for SunRail Phase 2 South, which will extend the region's commuter rail from Sand Lake Road in Orange County to Poinciana in Osceola County. The U.S. Department of Transportation will pay half the $186.9 million in capital costs for Phase 2 South's construction.

The Meadow Woods DOT parcel is currently being planned for Phase 1 as no more than parking garages with the new SunRail station. While El Shaddai arguably owns more land ripe for redevelopment near the station than anyone else, there are other parcels near the future station that could be redeveloped with uses similar to what Hoyos is proposing.

Hoyos wants to begin working with county planning staff soon to confirm both sides interpret high-density TOD principles in the same way for the golf course property.

"I just want the county to work with us to make this a successful TOD, because no one in Meadow Woods was given a chance to vote up or down for SunRail," he said. "In seven years or so, the county will become financially responsible for SunRail. By building this into a mini-city, we'll have enough ridership there to support it."

Hoyos said he's discussed design concepts for an inter-modal rail facility at Meadow Woods with GMP Architects of Germany, with an eye to emulate their innovative design of Berlin's Central Station.


"I've already talked with GMP over the past three years," he said. "They say once you get planning done we'll meet and help design, with steel, glass, solar panels and wind farm as potential aspects."

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.