Shops, eateries planned near Lake Nona

Looks like more space for shops and restaurants is on its way to the area near the Orlando International Airport.

Plans for Vista Park — a new mixed-use neighborhood slated for 1,572 acres north of State Road 528 and west of State Road 417 in Orlando — now include up to 80,000 square feet of retail space, up from the original 20,000 square feet, city of Orlando documents showed. This gives construction firms a larger potential job, and gives businesses more opportunities to set up shop in the neighborhood.

This comes after nearby homeowners raised concerns with the development, including 20,000 square feet of retail not being sufficient for the 4,300 homes and 20,000 square feet of offices Nona parking garage 2also planned for Vista Park. “This is a compromise we had agreed to at a quasi-judicial hearing,” said Miranda Fitzgerald, land-use attorney with Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed PA, who represents the land owner. Mockingbird Orlando LLC, an entity related to South Florida casino and horse racetrack owner John J. Brunetti, owns the land.

Jay Thompson, managing partner of developer Palm Beach Gardens-based Land Innovations LLC, has had his eyes set on Vista Park and catty-corner property, Starwood DRI, for a “mini Lake Nona” that may create an economic impact of $4.5 billion, he previously told OBJ. Plans for Starwood DRI include thousands more , square feet of retail, office and industrial space.

Orlando’s city council during a July 25 meeting approved Vista Park getting a planned-development zoning as it’s consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan. The project can now move forward after concerns from home owners were reviewed by a hearing officer.

The project still needs to be reviewed by the state Department of Economic Opportunity, and specific zoning ordinances need to go before the city. Overall, development is not expected to begin until 2018, Fitzgerald told OBJ.

Meanwhile, the land slated for Vista Park is being cleaned up, as World War II-era bombs are buried beneath it. Permits for the clean-up process were issued last summer, Fitzgerald said.