Mayor Announces Rida’s Plans for a $200M Transit-Oriented Development

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor During this year’s State of Downtown speech, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced that Rida Development Corporation, the company behind ChampionsGate and Hilton Orlando, will take on a new challenge by building a $200 million transit-oriented development. The [...]

During this year’s State of Downtown speech, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced that Rida Development Corporation, the company behind ChampionsGate and Hilton Orlando, will take on a new challenge by building a $200 million transit-oriented development.

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 an official release, a spine running through the center of the complex would link Orange Avenue with downtown’s main SunRail platform at the Lynx center.

The first phase of the development will consist of a hotel and several mid-rise apartment buildings of seven to ten stories, placed along the north side of the property, accompanied by ground-floor shops and restaurants. The costs of this first phase are estimated at $100 million. The second phase would add office space to the south side of the property, but the developer plans on waiting for a notable improvement of the commercial market before moving forward with the $100 million second phase.

Many large projects have been considered for the property bounded by Orange Avenue, Amelia Street, Livingston Street and the Lynx headquarters. 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—which 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 it would have endangered the Orlando Executive Airport air traffic due to its height.