Central Florida Roundup
Begun as a steam-powered sawmill in 1934, Parker Lumber endured for nearly 80 years, becoming the oldest family-owned business in Maitland, a suburban city just north of Orlando. Amid competition from Lowe’s and Home Depot, the family closed the company in 2011 and put the property, in the center of town, up for sale.
The Florida Department of Transportation bought a piece of property, which it used to build one of 12 stations for SunRail. And now the rest of the former lumber yard — about 5.1 acres — has been sold for nearly $5.2 million to Winter Park-based Epoch Properties, which plans to redevelop the site into a fivestory, 293-unit apartment community called Maitland Station.
The nearly $50-million project is one of several under way or already completed along the 2-year-old commuter system, where train stations are now becoming economic catalysts.
SunRail has “definitely been a stimulus at each of those stations for new development,” says Trevor Hall, director of land services for Colliers International Central Florida, which represented Parker Lumber in the sales of its land. Hall estimates that more than 1,200 apartments have been built or approved around SunRail stations since the train began service.
Two stops to the north of Maitland, in Longwood, Wendover House Partners recently opened the $30-million, 208-unit Weston Park next to the SunRail station there. And one stop beyond that, Epoch Properties has completed a 200-unit luxury apartment complex called Station House in Lake Mary where rents run from $1,045 per month to $1,950.
The projects to the south include Crescent Central Station, a $40-million mixed-use project in downtown Orlando just behind the SunRail station at main Lynx bus terminal. Built by Crescent Communities, the project has retail on the first floor and 279 apartments on the four floors above.
And SunRail recently broke ground on a southern expansion that will add four stations and 17 miles to the system, spurring hope that more redevelopment is on the way. Already, Tupperware Brands is working on plans for the land around a station serving its headquarters, while Kissimmee has hired developer Mosaic Partners to build a mixed-use project with apartments, retail, hotel and garages that city leaders hope will revitalize downtown.
Walt Disney Co. Promoted Rena Langley to senior vice president of public affairs. Langley, who had previously run public affairs for Disney’s cruise, timeshare and guided-tour businesses, replaces Brian Besanceney, who left to become chief communications officer at Walmart.
Anne Conway, a federal judge in Orlando division of the Middle District Court of Florida, was appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Robert H. “Bob” Brown will retire as CEO of the Heart of Florida United Way.
KISSIMMEE — Osceola Regional Medical Center and the University of Central Florida College of Medicine are beginning an emergency medicine residency program that is expected to grow to 21 trainees in a threeyear program.
LAKE BUENA VISTA — Walt Disney Co. Committed to serving only cage-free eggs in its theme parks and aboard its cruise ships. Canadian hotel brand Delta Hotels & Resorts, which was acquired last year by Marriott, opened its first U.S. location after renovating and reflagging a 241-room hotel just outside of Walt Disney World. The second ever Invictus Games for wounded military service personnel was held at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
MERRITT ISLAND — Satellite manufacturer OneWeb will open an $85-million, 100,000-sq.- ft. Factory just south of Kennedy Space Center. Economic developers expect the expansion to create 250 high-tech manufacturing and engineering jobs.
ORLANDO — The University of Central Florida says it hopes to enroll 10,000 graduate students by 2018. About 8,000 graduate students currently study at the university. The Orlando Citrus Bowl was renamed Camping World Stadium under a new sponsoring deal with the RV retailer. The city will build a pedestrian bridge downtown. Law firm GrayRobinson acquired the Tallahassee-based lobbying firm Capitol Insight. The U.S. Professional Tennis Association, which represents tennis coaches, will move its headquarters to Lake Nona near the under-construction U.S. Tennis Association’s national training campus. Real estate investor Passco of Irvine, Calif., bought a year-old, 248-unit apartment complex across from Florida Hospital’s main campus for $53.5 million.
ORANGE COUNTY — Sea- World Entertainment struck a new sponsoring agreement with artist and conservationist Guy Harvey.
OSCEOLA COUNTY — Commissioners approved new regulations of e-cigarettes, including prohibiting them from places where cigarettes aren’t allowed.
SANFORD — The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens will open a new exhibit this summer designed to teach people how to exist with bears. The Seminole County school district will sell a 114-year-old schoolhouse to a company that will turn it into an event venue.