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Landmark Mount Vernon Hotel starts falling to make way for Lakeside Crossing

An excavator strikes into the iconic Mount Vernon Inn during the beginning of the historical hotel's demolition in Winter Park, Monday, June 22, 2015 The hotel was home of the legendary Red Fox Lounge. The demo is making way for the new Lakeside Crossing retail project from Orlando-based developer Unicorp. The complex will be located across from Trader Joe's in Winter Park. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel) B584725805Z.1
An excavator strikes into the iconic Mount Vernon Inn during the beginning of the historical hotel's demolition in Winter Park, Monday, June 22, 2015 The hotel was home of the legendary Red Fox Lounge. The demo is making way for the new Lakeside Crossing retail project from Orlando-based developer Unicorp. The complex will be located across from Trader Joe's in Winter Park. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel) B584725805Z.1 (Joe Burbank)

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.

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"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.

For more information on Lakeside Crossing see our project page.

tburney@growthspotter.com or 407-420 6261

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