A new framework master plan has been presented to the city by the Delaware bank that owns Orlando Fashion Square on Colonial Drive. “designed specifically to bring new life to the development” with another 177,000 square feet of new retail uses, plus a mix of housing types and hotel.
According to Hal Kantor, shareholder for Lowndes and attorney for Bancorp, M & M Realty of New Jersey would lead the mall conversion into a mixed-use community.
Edgewood Properties founder Jack Morris and JMP Holdings President Joe Marino lead M & M Realty, a joint venture. The team has worked on mixed-use projects such as the revival of the Garden State Racetrack in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Mitchell Ranch in Pasco County.
The development team led by Unicorp National Development President Chuck Whittall paid $23 million for the land beneath the mall more than two years ago. Whittall and his financial partner, Daryl Carter, tried unsuccessfully to buy the mall building from Bancorp, but the two parties were never able to reach an agreement. The mall was purchased by Bancorp through a foreclosure in 2016 and has suffered a reduction in occupancy over the last five years.
The framework plan proposes for the property to be redeveloped in four phases, with the current Macy's and parking garage remaining. Because neither Bancorp nor Unicorp owns the parts anchored by Floor & Dècor or Dick's Sporting Goods, those structures are unaffected. The Bank of America building, as well as the stand-alone restaurants Olive Garden and Longhorn Steaks, would remain. All of the other structures would be razed and replaced.
Two restaurant pads fronting Colonial, a 120-room hotel, 1,400 residential units, two new parking garages, and a central event grass with a pavilion are all part of the overall proposal.
The event lawn and a new 400-unit apartment building would be introduced in Phase 1 of the concept. The hotel would be erected next to the park, with 20,000 square feet of associated retail. Macy's and Dillard's would stay, and numerous new retail buildings, including a two-story, 50,000-square-foot building across from Macy's, would be built.
Because the apartment buildings lack ground-floor retail space, municipal planners requested that the design team include live-work units along the new interior road, according to Kantor. Phase 1 consists of the first 32 units.