Miami developer looks to southwest Orlando for future projects

A development company that first entered Central Florida about four years ago is interested in taking a bigger stake in the region.

Miami-based MIR Developments LLC just wrapped up construction of the Royal Palace condominium complex near Orlando International Airport and now is working on at least three future southwest Orlando projects. For now, the developments will involve roughly 1,200 condo units, 180 apartments and more than 70,000 square feet of office/retail.

In all, the investment may be more than $250 million, according to industry standards.

And the developer is hungry for more.

“We want to continue to be this active,” said MIR Developments CEO Mark Rousso.

Rousso appears to have landed on a valuable Central Florida submarket, and more developers may follow because of a scarcity of available, buildable land in the region, said Brett Moss, senior director of HFF in Orlando.

The submarket is near Orlando’s tourist areas, and apartment projects likely will be successful, as are residential projects around The Mall at Millenia.

“It’s a pretty strategic location, and it’s getting more and more infill” projects, Moss said, referencing projects built in urban areas already surrounded by existing development.

MIR Developments joins several real estate developers and investors who seek to plant their flags around Central Florida. That’s due, in part, to the area’s population explosion. Orlando’s four-county region — Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake counties — saw its population grow by 2.3 percent between 2016-2017, double the U.S. growth rate and highest among the nation’s 30 largest cities, according to the Orlando Economic Partnership.

MIR’s apartment projects would add to the construction uptick in that sector that’s driven by strong fundamentals and job growth. Orlando reported a 96.8 percent apartment occupancy rate, which is among the lowest for Southeastern cities, according to the most recent report by Charlotte, N.C.-based Real Data Inc. Already, there are more than 11,700 apartments in the region’s construction pipeline.

Meanwhile, retail also was strong, as the Sand Lake/Tourist submarket — which includes the area targeted by MIR Developments — had a low 2.7 percent second-quarter vacancy rate, Colliers International Central Florida reported. That shows growing demand for retail in Orlando’s expanding tourist corridor and should bode well for the developer.

MIR Developments’ lineup:

1) Eaglewood Golf Club:

MIR is working on a master plan to redevelop the long-shuttered 44-acre Eaglewood Golf Club on Oak Ridge Road and John Young Parkway with nearly 1,000 condo or apartment units and commercial space. The public, 18-hole golf club closed in 2008.

The neighborhood would benefit from new housing and retail options, said Stephanie D’Amico, a BishopBeale associate who’s familiar with the submarket. Luxury housing may prove challenging, but the area would benefit from new shopping and dining venues, particularly ones that are walkable. “It’s more of a working-class community,” said D’Amico, who isn’t involved in the project.

2) Sandlake and Royal Shoppes:

MIR Developments is eyeing an 8-acre site near The Florida Mall for a new estimated $37 million project with apartments, office space, shops and restaurants northwest of East Sand Lake Road and Winegard Road.

The project has three elements: the 120-unit Sandlake Palazzo apartments, the 60-unit Sandlake Mirage apartments — both of which may start work by end of September — and the 31,000-square-foot Royal Shoppes, which will include retail/office space. Royal Shoppes is slated to start construction by November.

3) Sand Lake Station:

MIR Developments just secured a permit to begin site work on an 18-acre project near the SunRail commuter train station at the corner of Sand Lake Road and Orange Avenue. The project at 7803 S. Orange Ave. will feature 196 condo units, 38 townhomes and 40,000 square feet of retail/office.

MIR Developments was attracted to the site because of the SunRail station nearby, Rousso said. "I think that’s probably the best site we have."

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Game, set, match

Seminole County secures new sports facility

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