Two development projects set to bring Orlando more than 4,000 multifamily units move forward
The Orange County Commission has cleared the way for two major development projects that promise to deliver more than 4,235 apartment units to the Orlando area.
On Tuesday, O’Connor Capital Partners got commission approval for a land-use change that allows for as many as 1,354 multifamily residential units and 263,480 square feet of office and commercial space on 202 acres just north of the Tupperware SunRail station near the Osceola County line.
Moments later, the commission signed off another large-scale land-use change that nudges Estero-based Comterra Development Group one step closer toward its goal of delivering 200 hotel rooms, 2,882 multifamily residential dwelling units, and 470,000 square feet of commercial space to 58 acres in Orlando’s tourism district along World Center and International Drives.
The commission also approved a waiver for the project, allowing buildings as high as 300 feet in lieu of 60 feet.
Jim Nashman, the founding partner of Comterra, told GrowthSpotter that the mixed-use project, located near Disney and Universal theme parks, would be named ARETE, an ancient Greek concept that means “Excellence of any kind.”
“We’re very excited about this project as it will contribute to meeting the increasing demand for housing in Orlando and in this key tourist area,” he said, adding that no other specific details are available at this time.
One thing that is clear is that county staff are hoping Comterra will help close the gap in International Drive.
I-Drive currently ends where it meets S.R. 535 to the west of the subject property and where it meets World Center Drive to the north. Jason Sorensen, the county’s senior planner, told commissioners Tuesday that “the missing link” in I-Drive would need to be completed through the property if this project is approved.
He suggested that the county and developer work out an agreement at a later date regarding the road extension and how it will be funded.
Nashman said the I-Drive extension is just one component that the development team is still working on.
“We are in the midst of further refinements for the positioning of the multi-family, retail and hotel, as well as finalizing our thoughts on the I-Drive extension,” he said.
Comterra has yet to close on the land. Since 2012, it has been owned by an entity named Gissy Holdings I-Drive Property LLC, managed by David Siegel, the founder of timeshare giant Westgate Resorts, records show.
Comterra’s portfolio includes 22 properties across Florida, including the 127,000-square-foot Windermere Business Center just north of Universal Studios and the Publix-anchored Tavares Crossroads shopping center in Lake County.
The company has also developed five hotels —two in Bonito Springs and one apiece in Venice Isles, Estero and Reunion.
The other land-use change approved by the commission Tuesday sets the stage for more development to emerge around Tupperware World Headquarters and the nearby SunRail station.
O’Connor Capital Partners acquired 700 acres around the Tupperware site in 2020. That purchase included land in Orange and Osceola Counties.
O’Conner has since sold off some of the property on the Osceola side to multifamily developers. Now, following the commission vote, the development team is set to market land on the Orange County side for a mix of product types.
“Excited to provide new use opportunities in the transit-oriented development corridor,” Peter Bergner, the development director with O’Conner Capital, told GrowthSpotter. “I am talking to potential users but nothing firm at this moment.”
The land-use change creates three lots along the north side of Mary Louis Lane, and each would be marketed and sold separately. Lot 1, at the corner of Orange Blossom Trail and Mary Louis Lane, calls for 96,480 square feet of commercial space and 250 residential units.
The development plan for Lot 2, which is northwest of Orange Avenue and Mary Louis Lane, calls for 320 apartments and 167,000 square feet of commercial space. Lot 3 would be right across the street and would be entitled for 784 dwelling units on 26 acres. The latter site was previously approved for senior housing.
The Tupperware property on the Osceola side has been exploding with development activity lately, particularly multifamily housing.
Within the last month two projects near the Tupperware SunRail Station closed on construction loans and broke ground. Those are Fore Property Group’s 309-unit Parkway Crossings and Altman Company’s 346-unit Altís Twin Lakes.
Spirit Realty paid $43 million in 2021 for the 60-acre Tupperware campus and filed a replat the property so it can build a total of 348 residential units with a shared clubhouse and pool amenity on land that had been used for employee parking and green space.
Last year, Miami-based Waterstone Capital bought 16.5 acres northwest of the SunRail Station with plans to build 448 transit-oriented apartments.
The Osceola Corporate Center PD is already home to two completed apartment communities: San Mateo Crossings, which traded for $62 million in 2021, and 19 South, which was opened in 2022.
Two more TOD projects are in the pipeline in Osceola. Waterstone plans 448 units at the southeast corner of Orange Avenue and Mary Louis Lane.
O’Connor recently filed preliminary plans for another 750 apartments just south of the Orange County line, in the Osceola Corporate Center PD.