Developer files plan for mixed-use project at main entrance to NeoCity

Kissimmee-based Schoolfield Properties is preparing an 18-acre mixed-use project that will serve as the main gateway entrance to the NeoCity tech district.

With a mix of office, retail, residential and hotel uses, Valencia Village has been designated a "project of significance" by the city because of the unique location and potential economic impact. 

"We've had enormous interest from multiple retailers and high-end office users for this site," Vice President Cheryl Schoolfield told GrowthSpotter on Thursday. "We're finally at a point now where we can discuss those ground leases. We only have one shot at really creating a wow factor that NeoCity warrants."

NeoCity master planners Perkins+Will identified the Schoolfield site and Denn John Lane as having "the greatest potential to be a grand public entrance to the district, complete with public art, decorative lighting and a distinctive sign to spur commercial development in NeoCity and on privately owned land that fronts E192." 

Planner April Fisher filed the Mixed-Use PUD site plan, along with a Development Agreement (DA) with Osceola County for the extension of Denn John into NeoCity, and the construction of a pedestrian bridge over E192 linking the tech district to Valencia College.

Osceola County was awarded a $5.8 million Florida Job Growth Grant in March for NeoCity road construction, and the county would utilize a portion of the grant to build the gateway entrance through Valencia Village. Schoolfield will donate the right-of-way for the four-lane Denn John extension and pedestrian bridge.

"We feel the flyover into our property provides an opportunity to serve those 11,000 students at Valencia's campus," Schoolfield said. "We envision the mixed-use project as mimicking something like Baldwin Park."

The Valencia Village MUPUD would be anchored by a 72,000-square-foot retail and office building with structured parking fronting on E192 across from the college. The plan also shows inline retail buildings and a possible grocery store.

A trio of 10,000-square-foot office buildings would flank the eastern frontage of the entry road, and a smaller office building would be located at the southwest corner of the intersection. Schoolfield said the site plan is still conceptual and could change based on users.

"Everything we do there will be a ground lease," she said. "We may have our hands in some of the development."

The plan also includes a high-end residential component, with 16 luxury townhomes on the eastern side of the property.

According to the DA, Osceola County would build a temporary stormwater pond in Valencia Village to serve the development. That pond could be filled and developed when the county completes the 188-acre man-made lake in NeoCity that will function as a regional stormwater facility.

"If they do in fact build a temporary stormwater pond, it would be gone in about 22 months," Schoolfield said. "That's where I'd like to see a hotel, so it can take advantage of the views of the lake in NeoCity."

The MUPUD goes to Kissimmee's Development Review Committee on May 22. Schoolfield said she is working closely with the city and county to develop design criteria for Valencia Village that mimics those in the adjacent E192 Community Redevelopment Area.

The development team includes Fisher and KPM FranklinAlton Lightsey and Broad and Cassell's Jo Thacker head up the legal team.

Schoolfield said she anticipates a construction start on the road extension and utilities in nine months and completion in 22 months. 

NeoCity has served thus far as a magnet for several multifamily projects, including Neo Square and OxBow Crossing, which also has a retail element.

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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