“Pretty solid plan:” Orlando executives see promising new ideas for Fashion Square mall

ORLANDO, Florida – After unsuccessful attempts in the past, the owner of Fashion Square mall has officially submitted a request to the Orlando City Planning Council to revitalize the once thriving mall. Commissioner Robert Stuart believes this is a plan which, after many unsuccessful attempts, may in fact hold.

“We’ve seen eight or 10 plans in the last 15 years, so we actually have someone who (has) a pretty solid plan and has money behind it,” Stuart said Wednesday.

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Bancorp’s lawyer, along with the architects of Baker Barrios, have asked to redevelop the mall into a mixed-use property that will be built in three phases.

The overall plan will include keeping flagship stores in the mall, like Floor and Decor and Macy’s, but removing other big names like JC Penney and Dillard’s. According to the plan, the central structure of the mall itself will be demolished and rebuilt to bring in outdoor commercial space, as well as a 120-room hotel and ultimately up to 1,400 residential apartments after phase 4, with 400 units of market built in phase 1.

“It’s a good plan, it’s mixed use, it’s going to create a Winter Park Village atmosphere that will draw people in,” Stuart said. “We have an overabundance of people who need housing and we don’t have enough housing to do this job. It would be market housing at the same time as we look at additional pipes that could be affordable housing. “

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These plans will be developed over the next few months, but Orlando’s mission is YIMBY, which means “Yes, in my backyard,” says group co-chair Austin Valle.

“We’re excited to see housing built into it, that’s really what we want to see, mixed-use where you live, shop, work in the same neighborhood,” said Valle. “We want it to be more focused on public transport, more practicable on foot. There is a lot of parking there, it is always car oriented.

This is why an important part of this project, as Stuart explains, is that this plan includes a pedestrian and bicycle path that will cross the property, connecting Cady Way and Urban Bike Trials.

“We need access, we need people to go through that and you have a perfect trail,” Stuart said. “If you do that you will get Baldwin Park, Winter Park and you will get there without using their car.”

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“It’s in the right direction. If you think about what it does, it connects shopping and retailing to the people who live in Baldwin Park right on this trail, ”Valle said. “I couldn’t believe it all fell into place, we’ll see when they break it down. It has been a long time coming.

The plan has just been submitted to the Orlando City Planning Council, which means Stuart has said it could be up to four to six months before the Orlando City Council obtains it for final approval.

“He’s the one with the teeth and the money to do it,” Stuart said. “The process begins now. It will go through an assessment and go through the planning board and then come to us after a few public meetings. “

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