As the walls of the Winter Park landmark Mount Vernon Hotel started falling Monday morning, Unicorp President Chuck Whittall talked about the future of the site -- and he painted it bright.
Unicorp's newest development, Lakeside Crossing, on U.S. Highway 17-92, is scheduled to open next summer as a mixed-use development with restaurants and retail stores. It will be similar to Unicorp's super successful Lakeside development across the street, anchored by Trader Joe's, but with a parking garage attached.
"It's going to be Rodeo Drive meets Park Avenue," Whittall told an Orlando Sentinel videographer during the demolition. Whittall said his company paid about $1 million for the property.
Already the project is 80-percent leased, including a Mexican restaurant, Kona Grill, and an upscale hair salon, he said.
"A year from now we will be 100-percent leased," he said.
Whittall was headed to a Winter Park meeting Monday night to discuss bending the city's rules to build a larger parking garage, three floors rather than two at Lakeside Crossing. The undersized parking lot at Lakeside has been a sore point for shoppers.