Universal files plans for office & warehouses on 101 acres along Sand Lake Road

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

A Universal Orlando affiliate wants to build more than 644,000 square feet of office and industrial space on 101 acres it bought in the tourism corridor in late October, according to a Development Plan filed Friday with Orange County.

It's the first major public step forward by the entertainment company on plans for 575 acres it has acquired around Universal Boulevard in the past two years.

Universal attorneys have stated in recent court filings a goal of developing a new theme park there within the next three years. These plans could reflect back-of-house for staff and storage.  

Located in the 5000 block of W. Sand Lake Road directly east of Lockheed Martin's campus, plans for the 101.83-acre parcel call for 55.16 acres to be paved and developed with three warehouses that total 531,249 square feet, a warehouse central energy plant (10,400 SF), a three-story office building (94,161 SF), data center building (8,400 SF), and 2,594 surface parking spaces. 

Dubbed "Pavilion at Sand Lake" in relation to the PD zoning's original name, a remaining 46.67 acres are left open and designated for future development. Most of that is prime land fronting Sand Lake Road. 

Universal City Development Partners owns the land, and notes on the DP that this project will be constructed in multiple phases, with each standing on its own. Further detail on phasing wasn't provided. 

Officials with Universal Orlando declined to comment on Friday. 

A Universal Orlando affiliate paid $27.5 million in late October for the 101.83-acre parcel, which connects to the majority of another 474 acres its parent company bought in December 2015

About 480 acres of it all are contiguous, and lie south of Sand Lake Road, east of Universal Boulevard and north of Destination Parkway, separated only by drainage canals. 

Robert McEwan, senior land broker with CBRE who represented the property owners in both sales to Universal, predicts the company will pursue more land purchases in the near future.

"Universal has increased their market share in Orlando by over 10 percent in the last three years, and have their sites set on equaling both Disney's theme park attendance and number of resort hotel rooms," he told GrowthSpotter. "They will need to buy a lot more land to compete with Disney's 28,000 acres."

This 101-acre parcel falls within The Pavilion at Sand Lake PD Land Use Plan, which allows for 1 million square feet of retail entitlements.

Per Universal's proposed development program and the conversion matrix, the three warehouses, office and energy plant would total the equivalent of 177,534 square feet of retail entitlements, leaving 822,466 square feet of retail available for the future.

Using the PD's transportation conversion matrix, those remaining retail entitlements could convert to more than 2.07 million square feet of additional office space, or more than 3.16 million square feet of light industrial. 

Kimley-Horn is civil engineer on the project, C4 Architecture is the architect, and Jones, Wood & Gentry is surveyor. 

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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