Mainstreet and OLC suggested some changes to the master plan for College Station. The team relocated the wellness center from the back of the athletic complex to main entrance and added commercial properties closer to the student housing.
Mainstreet and OLC suggested some changes to the master plan for College Station. The team relocated the wellness center from the back of the athletic complex to main entrance and added commercial properties closer to the student housing. (Mainstreet Development - OLC)

Mainstreet Development won the enthusiastic endorsement of Osceola County's top staffers in their bid for the contract to develop the county's 400-acre College Station mixed-use project, home to Valencia College's new Poinciana campus.

The Carmel, Indiana-based firm, along with partners IBIS Enterprises, Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative and Design Collaborativewere the only group to respond to the county's RFLOI in December. Each focuses on residential design with an emphasis on health and wellness.

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But Procurement Director Rebecca Jones told GrowthSpotter sometimes it only takes one bidder, and in this case, Mainstreet hit all the right notes.

The selection committee met behind closed doors for more than an hour with key team members on Thursday, before voting unanimously to recommend moving forward with contract negotiations.

"I can say I'm excited," Community Development Director Dave Tomek said. The administration will ask county commissioners for a vote on Feb. 15 to begin formal negotiations with Mainstreet.

"It's a very negotiable deal," Jones said. "They're open to doing fee simple deal or land lease." Mainstreet believes the project could generate up to 500 jobs.

The development team also suggested rebranding the project, since "College Station" is already identified as the home of Texas A&M University.

She said Mainstreet anticipates taking up to six months to negotiate the contract and develop the business plan. The potential groundbreaking would be about 18 months later.

The mixed-use project has a strong residential and student housing component, with entitlements for more than 1,000 units, but it also includes retail and Class B office space.

In their proposal, Mainstreet officials suggested "exploring the potential for collaborative partnerships for additional services to develop a truly multi-generational campus to serve the needs of the community." They proposed building 490 student/young adult housing units and 550 senior housing units.

OLC specializes in designing fitness and wellness centers, like this one in Wesley Chapel.
OLC specializes in designing fitness and wellness centers, like this one in Wesley Chapel. (Ed LaCasse / FL Hospital)

A state-of-the-art health and wellness center would be the centerpiece of the campus. Mainstreet teamed up with the local office of Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative (OLC), which specializes in designing wellness facilities.

The center, which would be relocated to the main entrance of the community, would have the traditional fitness equipment and locker rooms, but it also could offer spa services, physical and occupational therapy, an urgent care center and student health services, a sleep lab, sports medicine and other specialists.

They see the Poinciana location as a prime spot for medical offices, transitional healthcare living for short-term rehabilitation patients, student housing, boutique retail and restaurants offering healthy dining options. They even proposed "edible microgardens."

"They're really big about the edible landscape," Jones said.

The firm contends that developing a multi-generational campus with a wellness center would create more jobs and attract greater community involvement than in a traditional college campus.

Design Collaborative would take the lead in designing student housing for Valencia College's new Poinciana campus at College Station.
Design Collaborative would take the lead in designing student housing for Valencia College's new Poinciana campus at College Station. (Design Collaborative)

Design Collaborative, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, would design the student housing component. Mainstreet's student housing division, VITA, will develop the product, which will blend campus-style housing and apartment living.

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"We don't build dorms," managing director Justin Farris said. "We build next-generation student housing."

The company is currently building a student housing complex at Warner University in Lake Wales.

Jones said the group wants to explore the feasibility of building a bridged walkway through the large wetland area that separates the student housing from the Valencia College campus. "They want to make it very pedestrian-friendly," she said.

Maintstreet's conceptual plan includes all of the elements in the sports complex -- tennis courts, baseball, softball, and multi-purpose fields with a dog park, marina, and playgrounds -- that were in the county's masterplan.

Jones said it's likely the firm would establish a community development district (CDD) to govern the community and operate the public park and sports facilities. "They want to make this a destination for the whole community," she said.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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