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Here’s 2 spots where the Osceola Parkway Extension may be built — both are controversial

Would you rather see a major road built through a costly wildlife/nature preserve or a neighborhood?

This is the dilemma the Central Florida Expressway Authority, which soon must decide where to put the Osceola Parkway Extension, has been facing since last year.

The proposed Osceola Parkway Extension begins one mile west of the Boggy Creek Road and Osceola Parkway intersection, and extends eastward along the Orange/Osceola County line for six miles before turning south into Osceola County to meet the northern terminus of the proposed Northeast Connector Expressway. The project also includes a potential north/south segment linking to State Road 417 in the general vicinity of the Boggy Creek Road interchange.

The goal of the project is to relieve congestion and have regional connectivity. It’s part of the authority’s overall 2040 master plan, which includes other alignments.

One of the current alternatives shows that the extension could go through the 1,700-acre Split Oak Forest preserve, acquired in the 1990s, which is south of the Clapp Simms Duda Road. Environmental conservationists say doing so would defeat the purpose of having protected land that involved millions in funding.

However, if the project does not go through Split Oak, it could mean nine would be taken in the St. Cloud community Lake Ajay Village.

“The board is going to look at all the options. Our job is how are we going to move people in the next 40 years here in Central Florida,” Fred Hawkins, chairman of the Central Expressway Authority, told  Business Journal after the board’s Feb. 8 meeting. “We have to move those people and the to-do list is now, before more development occurs.”

Roughly $70 million has been allocated for the project so far, which would go toward property acquisition and engineering.

He added that going through a community such as Lake Ajay Village, located off Narcoossee Road, likely would be more expensive than going through Split Oak

“The properties directly affected are worth $450,000-$600,000. The property taxes they pay are between $3,000-$5,000 each. Not only will those properties will be affected, but all of them running along this area,” said Stacy Ford, a resident of Lake Ajay Village, during the public comments segment of the meeting. “The worst case for us isn’t that CFX will go through our homes, it’s that CFX puts this road right next to our homes because we don’t get compensation for the impact of that, which is our property values. At minimum, it’s going to be 20 percent.”

And if the project does go through Split Oak forest, Hawkins said there may be land compensated for that loss.

At the next expressway authority meeting on March 8, the board will go over the feasibility and cost of alternative corridors so it can move forward with project development and environment studies.

There are multiple public meetings for those who want to express their concerns regarding how the project may affect their property or commute. The meetings all will run from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and will be held:

  • Feb. 13 at St. Cloud High School
  • Feb. 15 at Lake Nona Middle School
  • Feb. 21 at the Association of Poinciana Villages Community Center

Lockheed Martin plans to expand Orlando division by 255,000 SF

Global defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. will expand in west as it continues to grab big contracts with work in Central .

The Bethesda, Md.-based company declined to share details until Feb. 14, when it breaks ground at 2 p.m. on its planned new 255,000-square-foot Research and Development II building on the property of the Missiles & Fire Control facility at 5600 Sand Lake Road. The new building is will open in 2019 and lead to job growth.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Cissy Proctor and Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control Executive Vice President Frank St. John will attend tomorrow’s ceremony.

Lockheed Martin is expected to expand its workforce in Orlando as the company was approved for a $3.5 million incentive package from Orange County and Florida last year to create 500 jobs by the end of 2022. Currently, Lockheed Martin has more than 650 job open on its website, calling for software and system engineers, program managers and more.

Lockheed Martin in Orlando often scoops up big contracts. The firm recently grabbed a $148 million deal for its stealth jet fighter F-35 with a chunk of the work happening in Orlando.And on Feb. 12, Longbow LLC — a joint venture between Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Northrop Grumman Corp.(NYSE: NOC) — scored an $8.8 million contract from the U.S. Army for laser and longbow Hellfire engineering services. Work for the one year contract will be performed in Orlando and two other areas.

Lockheed Martin is Central Florida’s seventh-largest employer with more than 9,000 workers, according to Orlando Journal research. Lockheed Martin is also the largest tech firm in Orlando.

Tavistock proposes upscale Isleworth-area mixed-use project

 

 

 

 

 

 Group is lining up plans for a new Windermere mixed-use development it wants to build on vacant land on the shores of Lake Down.

The developer of the upscale Isleworth Golf and Country Club is seeking Orange County approval for the yet-to-be-named project on 43 acres zoned for agriculture at the northwest corner of Conroy Windermere and South Apopka Vineland roads, in what’s called the Isleworth Four Corners planned development.

Plans include 21 single-family homes; a 107-bed assisted-living and memory-care facility; 72 independent-living units; 40,000 square feet of medical office space in a two-story that may include a clinic or emergency department; a 30,000-square-foot big-box retailer; and about 40,000 square feet of additional shops and eateries east of Isleworth that Tavistock already owns through its related Windermere Property Holdings LLC.

The county will host a community meeting at 6 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the Chain of Lakes Middle School Cafeteria, where Tavistock will present its plans. Previous versions included a gas station and hotel, but residents shot down those plans, said Tavistock spokeswoman Jessi Blakley.

may begin sometime in 2019, pending approvals, said Tavistock spokeswoman Jessi Blakley, adding that it was still too early to have a project general contractor chosen.

Andres Duany of architect and town planning firm DPZ Partners LLC is a project consultant; Vero Beach-based Merrill, Pastor & Colgan Architects principal Scott Merrill is the architect; Winter Park-based Donald W. McIntosh Associates Inc. is the civil engineer; and Rulon Munns of Bogin Munns & Munns is the zoning attorney.

This is one of several projects Tavistock already has in the works. It also has more than $3 billion worth of construction in southeast ‘s 17-square-mile community, and plans in the works for the 24,000-acre Sunbridge community, for which it recently snagged another 200 acres of land in Orange and Osceola counties.

Tesla rideshares, micro apartments on the way as Lake Nona’s Pixon tower takes shape

 

Next-generation amenities are on the way to the fast-growing Lake Nona community as Tavistock Development Co. LLC brings its planned $30.2 million Pixon mixed-use development to life.

The residential and retail project’s 11-story apartment tower broke ground last summer at the southeast corner of and Lakes boulevards, with pre-leasing to begin this summer. Among its amenities are a rideshare program that features the Tesla Models 3s, electric car-charging stations, concierge delivery system and a 24-hour gym with on-demand fitness by Lake Nona Institute partner Technogym.

A total of 32,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space will feature a bar/restaurant, retail and pharmacy storefronts and a café. And a top-level sky lounge will offer panoramic views, a resident bar and private outdoor dining.

The property is slated to open in winter 2018 under SPM Property Management, which also manages Lake Nona’s Ariel Apartments, WaterMark Apartments and the Landon House complex across from Pixon.

Pixon is one of the upcoming projects in Tavistock’s Lake Nona portfolio, including the $300 million next phase of the nearby $780 million Lake Nona Town Center.

See the photo gallery above for a look at what’s happening at the Pixon site and check back to Journal for more news on Lake Nona and Tavistock projects.

Lake Nona tees up opening of Drive Shack golf complex

Lake Nona’s newest sports-themed complex is getting ready to open its doors to the area’s golf fans.

New York-based global golf entertainment company Drive Shack Inc. (NYSE: DS) will debut its $20 million-$25 million golf-themed driving range and entertainment complex on Feb. 14, Sports Ventures Vice President Andy Odenbach told attendees at Orlando Journal’s Jan. 19 Business of Sports luncheon.

The new three-story, 57,000-square-foot sports center — the next piece of Lake Nona’s 300-acre Sports and Performance District — features a restaurant, lounge, bar, 90 hitting bays and meeting spaces on 15 acres at 7675 Blvd.

Drive Shack began hosting several hiring events in November to prep for its opening, as previously reported by OBJ. The complex still has positions available on its careers webpage, ranging from bay caddy to senior operations manager.

The new Drive Shack complex is expected to be a direct competitor to Dallas-based Topgolf, which last fall opened its three-level, 65,000-square-foot sports venue on Orlando’s International Drive tourist corridor.

Tech giant Apple corporate campus

Tech giant Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: APPL) announced on Jan. 17 that it’s seeking an American city in which to build a corporate campus that will create 20,000 jobs. Orlando’s economic development agency already is seeking a chance to submit a proposal to the iPhone maker.

Apple, which has a 14,000-square-foot office at the University Center at 11301 Corporate Blvd. near the University of Central , says the economic benefit will come through increased spending in manufacturing, capital expenditures, hiring and company tax payments, including about $38 billion in repatriation tax payments as part of recent changes to tax laws.

“The Orlando Economic Partnership certainly is interested in putting together a proposal for Apple, and we are in the process of learning more about the company’s needs,” said Laureen Martinez, senior director for marketing and communications for the city’s economic development agency.

Getting Apple would be a major deal — the same, if not bigger than landing Amazon’s HQ2. Amazon plans to invest $5 billion in a yet-to-be-selected.

While Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) would have been a big get for Central Florida, getting Apple would boost Orlando’s technology industry, too, said Chester Kennedy, CEO of BRIDG, the group that operates the $70 million, 109,000-square-foot Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in Osceola County. “Apple is a huge magnet to convene and elevate the tech industry. Our region will gain by having them locate here, especially since this leverages the strengths of our existing targeted industries and brings awareness to those that don’t already know ‘the other half’ of our story.”

The story he’s referring to is the fact that Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center anchors NeoCity, a 500-acre tech campus in Osceola County, which is a blank canvas for elite tech companies to expand and capitalize on the growing Internet of Things industry. The center will focus on producing smart sensors — tiny microchips that connect everyday items to the internet for data analysis. Smart sensors are something that Apple uses often in its products from its iPhone to smart watches.

Kennedy was aware of how useful Apple could be in Central Florida before the company made the announcement that it was searching for a city to in which to expand. “In fact, I and the team from the Orlando Economic Partnership met with Apple representatives at their headquarters last year to discuss the value of increasing their presence here in Central Florida. Of course it would be a big deal for us as they are big integrators of sensors in their devices. With an Apple location, Central Florida will gain even more momentum in the world of smart sensors and the Internet of Things.”

However, getting Apple will be difficult, much like competing for Amazon, which involved 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. “This will be another coveted trophy in competition with a lot of cities in the country to get this next Moby Dick of a headquarters,” said University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith. “Amazon would have been a major game changer in the line of Disney World for the region, but you can’t cry over spilled prime memberships.”

Local tech leaders agreed that lessons can be learned from losing Amazon. “The criteria Amazon had, which included access to an airport and a region with a million residents, we clearly fulfill,” said Carlos Carbonell, CEO of Orlando-based Echo Interaction Group. “An important aspect was the region’s ability to attract tech talent. This is the aspect we not only can work better at, but demonstrate that we can attract tech talent and then follow through on our plans.”

Carbonell further recommended the city gather insights from other local leaders previously from cities where big companies like Amazon and Apple are located. “If the product is ‘Orlando as a place to relocate a to,’ then let’s leverage local voices and perspectives. We need to introspect what proportion of programs and career tracks our academic institutions focus on for training that can help us become a more prepared city. If we are not ready for Amazon today, we can be within a few years.”

Snaith agreed with Carbonell, saying the local workforce may not have been large enough, but public transportation is also something the region needs help with. “Transportation is under improvement right now with Brightline, but I don’t think Lynx has a dedicated source of funding and that is something we need to pay attention to.”

Snaith also said a lack of incentives may have played a big factor in not making the Amazon HQ2 shortlist. “Until we see what the final deal looks like, if this is driven by incentive packages, Florida may need to revisit its stance on incentives.”

However, “being in the consideration for Amazon really helped us. Being in the game brought together various groups across the region to talk and cooperate at a new level. This left us in a much better place to cooperatively pursue future opportunities,” Kennedy said. “I’m convinced we all gain if Miami stays in the [running], although not as much as we would have gained if a Central Florida site was still in consideration.”

Snaith also is confident that even if Orlando loses out on Apple, there will be other opportunities. “From the tax reform law, money will be coming back to the U.S. and a lot more companies will be looking to expand and invest in the U.S. down the road.”

Inventory Shortage at Crisis Levels in Nation’s Hottest Housing Markets

For-sale inventory is stuck at crisis levels in some of the nation’s hottest housing markets where home values are appreciating fastest. The number of homes for sale nationwide has declined on an annual basis for the past 35 straight months, and just 16.7 percent of a panel of housing expertsii surveyed in December 2017 expect a meaningful increase of home building in 2018, a sign that limited inventory could continue to drive the housing market this year.

 

“Tight inventory fueled by a tight labor market and low interest rates propelled home values to record heights in 2017, but the outlook is now much less certain,” said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas. “Tax reform will put more money in the pocket of the typical buyer, but will limit some housing-specific deductions. Overall, this should increase demand for the most affordable and ease competition somewhat in the priciest market segments. On the supply side, the market is starving for new homes, but it won’t be easy for builders struggling with high and rising land, labor and lumber costs. Aging millennials and young families may be able to find more affordable new homes this year, but they’ll most likely be in further-flung suburbs with more grueling commutes to urban job centers.”

Lack of inventory, coupled with strong demand from home buyers, is one reason why home values across the country are reaching new peaks. The median U.S. home value rose 6.5 percent over the past year to $206,300, the highest it has ever been.

 

Niche grocer Earth Fare kicks off construction in Lake Nona area

Niche grocer Earth Fare Inc.’s first location has broken ground in the Lake Nona area and is set to open this summer.

General contractor J. Raymond Corp. began work late last year on the 70,000-square-foot Shoppes at Nona Place, which Earth Fare will anchor.

Good Healthy eats

Earth Fare

Earth Fare, touted as a health and wellness supermarket, is sure to draw a healthy crowd, as it has many organic and vegan offerings and promises that its foods are free of:

  • Added hormones
  • Artificial fats and trans fats
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Bleached or bromated flour
  • Antibiotics
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Artificial preservatives
  • Artificial colors or flavors

The project on the southeast corner of Narcoossee and Tyson roads is expected to create more than 100 temporary construction jobs.

Palm Beach Gardens-based Blackfin Partners joined forces with Canadian firm North American Development Group to build the estimated $10.5 million specialty neighborhood retail complex just south of High School.

Fletcher, N.C.-based Earth Fare and Sunrise-based Pet Supermarket Inc. are among the first two tenants to finalize leases in the shopping center. Pet Supermarket will take 7,000 square feet.

The shopping center also will feature Heartland Dental, which will take roughly half the space in a 6,000-square-foot building it will share with local company Lee Nails & Spa.

Two more endcap spaces are available, along with two nearly 1-acre outparcels that can accommodate up to 6,000 square feet of space and a nearly 4,500-square-foot fast-food restaurant building.

TRENDING

7 things to know today and Orlando moves up on best-performing cities list

Good morning, !

Metro Orlando jumped up two places in an annual ranking released Wednesday by California-based Milken Institute that measures economic growth.

The City Beautiful came in at No. 7 on the institute’s list of the top 200 large U.S. metro areas — up from No. 9 last year.

The only other Florida metro to best us was North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, which saw a huge leap from No. 26 last year to No. 6 this year.

Milken Institute’s index looks at how well the country’s metro areas create and sustain jobs as well as each’s economic growth. Published since 1999, the index looks at nine metrics to evaluate the growth of a metro area, including changes in jobs, wages and salaries in addition to technology output.

Milken Institute said its results can be used as an “objective benchmark for examining the underlying factors and identifying unique characteristics of economic growth in metropolitan areas.”

See the full rankings here.

And be sure to check out these other Thursday headlines:

$89M downtown Orlando luxury apartment tower to break ground in Q2

Another high-end apartment complex soon will dot Orlando’s skyline near Lake Eola, joining a roster of projects such as the under- Modera at Mills Creek and Aspire. More here on the 300,000-square-foot project.

Johnson & Johnson changes hiring plan for regional HQ in Lake Nona

Here are five Walt Disney World projects to follow in 2018

2018 of Sports

Jan. 19

Disney Springs lands among NY Times’ top 52 places to visit in 2018

Disney Springs is among several U.S. spots on a newly released New York Times list of the 52 Places to Go in 2018. The list was selected based on suggestions from regular contributors to the Times’ Travel section that are then narrowed down based on why 2018 is the time to visit a particular place.

12 tech firms hiring 300 Central Florida workers

Attention all job seekers: Video game, data analytics, IT and rocket firms all have high-wage, high-tech jobs available — some paying more than $77,000 a year. To see a quick lineup of which firm firms are hiring, how many positions are available and a few of the job titles, click here.

Feds drop plan to allow drilling off Florida coast

Florida waters were removed Tuesday from White House plansto open previously protected parts of the Atlantic Ocean and eastern Gulf of Mexico to offshore oil and gas drilling. The move spurred questions about whether the quick decision and manner of announcement by the Trump administration were done to further Scott’s political career.

Coca-Cola launches Diet Coke ‘brand rejuvenation,’ adds 4 new ‘bold’ flavors

The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) said Wednesday that it was re-launching the 35-year-old Diet Coke with a “bold new look, a fresh attitude” and four new flavors: Diet Coke Ginger Lime, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange and Diet Coke Twisted Mango. The all new packaging and flavors hit store shelves this month. More here.

Sears will consider ‘all other options’ after dismal holiday season

Sears and Kmart store sales plummeted almost 17% during the holiday season as it considers “all other options” to stay in business. The company plans on renegotiating $1 billion in debt by extending due-date on some loans and altering terms on other loans. The retailer said it expects to return to profitability this year. More here.

OIA seeks south terminal eateries; shares details about new stores

International will begin searching for the concessionaires at its new $2.15 billion south terminal, while also locking down the theme park retail stores planned to go there.

The airport will release the first advertisement for food and beverage concessionaires on Dec. 28 for more than 30,000 square feet of food and beverage space.

Meanwhile, the airport is already in talks with Walt Disney WorldUniversal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex about having shops there, said airport officials during the Dec. 20 Greater Orlando Aviation Authority meeting.

The south terminal will have more than 61,000 square feet of overall retail space. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Nineteen total food and beverage spaces (30,678 square feet)
  • Three theme retail spaces (17,902 square feet)
  • Six general retail spaces (6,353 square feet)
  • Two specialty retail spots (1,866 square feet)
  • One duty-free shop (4,600 square feet)

Stan Thornton, COO at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said during the meeting that the airport is seeking to fill out themed retail spaces — those used by theme parks for merchandise — and move onto filling out food and beverage space and other specialty shops.

Maps of the new airside terminal show most of the retail space is split between two levels, with Disney and Universal both having dual-level stores. Other spaces are earmarked for a sports bar, casual dining, gourmet market, fast casual/ethnic cuisine, a burger stop and more.

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Take a tour through Central Florida’s top 5 wealthiest ZIP codes

“We will be looking at food and beverage, but a lot of different concepts. We hope to focus on something that’s emblematic of Orlando. You can’t do that all over, but more airports are doing local fare. For retail, you have the themed retail and news/gift and specialty retail,” Phil Brown, CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, told Orlando Business Journal.

Site work already is underway at the new south terminal. The expansion will add 16 new gates to the airport — for both domestic and international flights — and will provide for future growth. The terminal, dubbed Terminal C, will be ready for flights by 2020 and is a vital cog to the overall growth of the $60 billion tourism and travel industry that serves more than 68 million annual visitors.