KPMG seeks local GC for Lake Nona training center, site work eyed in June

Bob Moser

New York-based KPMG LLP should pick a local general contractor within the next 45 days to manage construction of its 800,000-square-foot corporate training and conference center in Lake Nona, and estimates a June start to site work for the project, the company's new managing director of construction management said Monday.

Bill Flemming was introduced by KPMG as its newest executive hire, tasked with overseeing work as owner's representative for the estimated $430 million investment. He previously served as president and CEO of Skanska USA Building, Inc., with highlight projects of his career including the Nemours Hospital in Lake Nona, Metlife Stadium in New Jersey and work on the United Nations building in New York City.

The company held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning in Lake Nona with Tavistock Development Company, which sold the 54.5-acre site along Lake Nona Boulevard to KPMG in late December for more than $41.84 million

A unique challenge of developing the site will involve bringing in enough fill dirt to create a 10-foot elevation for the entire building pad and entry way, Flemming told GrowthSpotter. He was unable to estimate how many cubic yards of dirt would be required.

"Another good challenge will be the need to be sensitive to neighboring Red Lake for future use," Flemming continued. Plans for the project call for an elevated walkway northeast of the property to the lake, where there could be a dock and water sports. 

KPMG's mass grading construction permit request is still under review by the City of Orlando, but Flemming expects that to be approved within the next few weeks to allow a June start for site work.

The selection of a local GC with experience in multi-use buildings of this size will come by mid-July or earlier, Flemming said. 

The project's estimated timeline targets the fall of this year for foundation work to start, early 2018 for superstructure construction, late 2018 for the building to be fully enclosed, and year-end 2019 for project completion.

GrowthSpotter first reported last August that Tavistock was preparing plans for the site on Lake Nona Boulevard as a corporate training campus. Tavistock cited a "unique user" at the time, but declined to name the prospective buyer. 

That was followed by our report on Dec. 8 that KPMG and the City of Orlando had a tentative agreement in place for more than $3.5 million in tax rebates over seven years, in exchange for the company's plan to invest in Lake Nona. 

Behind three gated entry points to the property will lie an expansive 55-acre campus with outdoor recreation and learning spaces, walking paths, a baseball field, and a boardwalk leading northwest to a dock on Red Lake. 

A majority of the property should be developed in Phase 1, with a training and lodging facility totaling 780,000 square feet that includes 800 single-occupancy lodging rooms and 350,000 square feet of conference space, along with an outdoor social venue building of 15,000 square feet.

A Phase 2 expansion would include up to 400 more lodging rooms and 200,000 square feet of event space. The property is expected to have restaurants and bars, hiking and biking paths, a softball field and volleyball court. 

KPMG is one of the world's leading providers of audit, tax and advisory services and industry insight to companies. The company currently employs close to 700 people in Orlando and five other cities across Florida. 

The city will provide KPMG a tax rebate up to 25 percent of the property taxes assessed on the property for seven years, beginning in Fiscal Year 2020-2021 through 2026-2027, with a maximum cumulative rebate not exceeding $3.5 million, and a maximum annual rebate not exceeding $500,412. 

In addition, the city will also support the local match for the state of Florida’s Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund program, which will total $64,000 from Orlando, paid as $16,000 annually over four years.

To collect these incentives, KPMG must create 80 jobs new to Florida by the end of 2019,  paying an average annual wage of $66,098, which is at least 150 percent of the state's annual wage.

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