Dr. Phillips Charities buys 118 acres for future Packing District public park

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

Dr. Phillips Charities paid $4.7 million on Monday for 118 acres from a KeyBank affiliate in west College Park, then immediately gifted 104 acres to the city of Orlando as its latest step in establishing a public park for the newly-branded Packing District.

The organization is now about 60 percent through its plan production with city staff for the 104-acre regional park, which is expected to include a new Orlando Tennis Centre, pedestrian and bike trail system, multi-use fields, stormwater ponds and other amenities.

Dr. Phillips should be through its permit approvals and begin horizontal site work on the park within six months, or by September, and have the park completed by First Quarter 2020, president Kenneth D. Robinson told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. 

The organization and city announced in early December they were working on long-term redevelopment of 202 acres in west College Park, to include the future public park and conversion of present-day warehouses into a mixed-use district. 

The KeyBank land, located on the southeast corner of Princeton Street and N. John Young Parkway, includes about 14 acres with stormwater retention area on its northern end that Dr. Phillips Charities will retain for its own future use. 

The organization projected its total investment in that 118 acres to near $5.3 million. For the 14 acres it will retain, commercial and community uses are still being explored, Robinson said.

Dr. Phillips Charities began demolition in January on a 13-acre warehouse site at 2519 N. Orange Blossom Trail, formerly home to Gemaire Distributors Inc.

The organization has not decided what private uses it will develop that property for yet, and is still exploring development options for the 84 acres it owns surrounding Princeton Street and Orange Blossom Trail.

No new community meetings are planned at this time, but Dr. Phillips Charities will continue to reach out to area stakeholders for feedback on its plans, Robinson said.

Conceptual plans for the Packing District include a mix of old and new, where warehouses and commercial buildings are repurposed, which together with new development will provide opportunities for office, retail and residential. 

Grocer-anchored retail on land east of Orange Blossom Trail "would be a wonderful use" and is being considered, though no specific grocer or retailer has been signed, Robinson said.

Residential development in The Packing District could include a mix of senior housing, apartments and townhomes for sale and rental. Orlando-based SC Advisors is serving as development advisor, and will market future parcels for sale or lease. 

Traffic calming mechanisms will be part of the new roadway design, including lane reductions, a roundabout at Texas Avenue and pedestrian-friendly cross sections. 

Contributors to the project include GAI Consultants' Community Solutions Group on design, civil engineering by Littlejohn, transportation engineering by Kittelson & Associates, and land planning by Perkins + Will.  

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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