Dr. Phillips unveils development plan for NE quarter of Packing District

Construction will start in June on the first phase of The Packing District, at the northeast corner of Princeton Avenue and Orange Blossom Trail.

Dr. Phillips Charities is prepping for construction to start this year on multiple projects within the 202-acre mixed-use Packing District in west Orlando, with delivery of the first residential and commercial spaces in 2020.

Dr. Phillips President Ken Robinson shared the latest conceptual renderings for the northeast quadrant prepared by Embrey Partners, the Texas-based multifamily developer that will build the 320-unit apartment complex on the site.


Embrey plans to break ground in June on the urban mid-rise complex that anchors the northern third of the quadrant. The concept also shows a mid-sized grocery store and a number of restaurants and commercial buildings fronting on Orange Blossom Trail and Princeton Avenue.

The plan calls for the adaptive reuse of a former tire service building into a retail building. Robinson said the charity also hopes to find a tenant for the former fire station on OBT.


The charity will reconstruct the former citrus stand on its original site at the hard corner of the intersection and recruit an independent coffee shop for the space. The charity will rely on the original building plans, with some tweaks. It's meant to be an iconic structure that highlights the historical significance of the district and the contributions of the citrus business.

"We think it's the equivalent of putting a beautiful fountain there," Robinson said.

The plan also shows a full service restaurant facing Princeton. Robinson said the goal is to break ground first on the apartment complex and construct the grocery store and retail/commercial buildings so they all open at roughly the same time.

Meanwhile, Dr. Phillips also plans to get started this year on a host of other projects in the Packing District. Robinson said the charity is in the final stages of selecting an architect to convert the former 22,000-square-foot "Southern Box" building at the southeast corner of Princeton and OBT into a food hall by late 2020.

"We'll be publishing a (Request for Qualifications) for operators," Robinson said. "We're looking for someone with food hall experience, preferably, or some great restaurant experience."

Plans for The Packing District, a $480-million transformational project, have continued to unfold within the last year. In late 2017, Dr. Phillips Charities announced its gift of more than 100 acres of land adjacent to the District to the City of Orlando to make way for a regional park that would serve as a hub for wellness programs and provide a site for amenities, including the city's tennis center, bike trails, running trails and more.

The new YMCA Family Center in the Packing District is projected to break ground in late 2019 and be operational by early 2021. The Dr. Phillips Charities board voted in November to fund $8.9 million, or roughly 75 percent of the cost for the facility.

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