Excerpted from Orlando Business Journal story.
A developer’s plan to flatten a pair of aging buildings shows confidence in downtown Orlando’s potential future expansion.
Orlando-based Dr. Phillips Inc. — a major real estate company in Central Florida — plans to tear down two 60-plus-year-old buildings at 307 and 315 N. Orange Blossom Trail in Parramore, according to permits filed with the city of Orlando. The developer also plans to redevelop similar older structures as part of the 202-acre, $480 million Packing District near College Park.
For now, Dr. Phillips has no immediate plans for new construction on the Parramore properties. The nonprofit umbrella company Dr. Phillips Charities uses the income produced from its portfolio of rental properties and other investments to fund grant making.
“We saw an opportunity to prepare today for tomorrow,” Ken Robinson, president and CEO for Dr. Phillips Charities, told OBJ. “We continually analyze our properties, and in this case, these properties were older and functionally obsolete.”
Local retail experts say the developer likely is anticipating downtown Orlando’s westward expansion past Interstate 4 and into Parramore. In recent months, companies and developers have been scouting for potential real estate opportunities in the historically segregated and low-income Parramore community. These companies have cited the neighborhood’s momentum from projects such as the construction around the 68-acre, $1.5 billion Creative Village and the Orlando Magic’s planned Sports and Entertainment District.
Office, entertainment and residential developments in Parramore will spur more demand for retail in the area, said Terrence Hart, senior director at Franklin Street of Orlando, who handles retail leasing and is not involved with the two buildings destined for the wrecking ball. Hart said he sees downtown’s western edge eventually growing to John Young Parkway — about 1 mile west of the Dr. Phillips properties. “Retailers actually are starting to take that part seriously. That used to be a no man’s land for retailers.”