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Feb. 22, 2013

Rida Development’s $200M Transit-Oriented Project Gets Preliminary Approval

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

RIDA Development’s master plan for a $200 million, multi-phased mixed-use development won the approval of Orlando’s Municipal Planning Board on Tuesday, and must now go before the City Council.

The ambitious project was first announced in 2011, when Mayor Buddy Dyer included RIDA’s idea in his State of Downtown speech.

The mixed-use Central Station project will spread over a 5.6-acre parcel adjacent to the Lynx Central Station and across Orange Avenue from the Orange County Courthouse. The location facilitates a direct connection to SunRail, the 61-mile commuter train system scheduled to launch in 2014, making the Central Station the first example of transit-oriented development tied to the SunRail. According to a plan previously released by the developer, a spine running through the center of the complex would link Orange Avenue with downtown’s main SunRail platform at the Lynx center.

The 5.6-acre tract, considered to be the largest undeveloped parcel downtown, was purchased by RIDA Development for $15.1 million in 2008 from Palm Beach Land Trust—that also had plans for a $250 million mixed-use project tied into the commuter-rail system. Previous to Palm Beach Land Trust, the property was owned by Ron Pizzuti, who proposed Orlando City Center—a tower topped by a large open cube—but the project was shut down by the Federal Aviation Administration as its height would have endangered the Orlando Executive Airport air traffic.

The development consists of three phases, with the first estimated at approximately $100 million. The first phase of the development will add a126-room hotel, a 275-unit apartment building with a 411-space parking garage, and a 97-space parking lot accompanied by ground-floor shops and restaurants.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, if the master plan gets the final approval from the City Council, construction could start this year on the residential component—where Crescent Resources will serve as RIDA Development’s multifamily partner.

Image: Orlando, Lake Eola aerial