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Projects for other areas of the metropolitan area...

The Wellesly At College Park


Super Channel 55 Altamonte Springs


Hospital Winter Park,


Regent Hotel Winter Park, Construction Pic,


Veranda Park at Metrowest


Promenade At Metrowest


The Condominiums of Plaza del Lago at MetroWest


Esplanade Center at Metrowest



Please feel free to add more when you find them.

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article on the rennaissance of downtown Kissimmee:

British pub in the works is latest boost to downtown

Continuing the surge of eateries in Kissimmee, the pub is aimed to appeal to locals and tourists.

By Susan Jacobson | Sentinel Staff Writer

Posted March 18, 2005

Downtown Kissimmee, which until recently did some of its strongest restaurant business at a drugstore coffee shop and two Southern diners, is on the verge of getting a British pub to complement several new restaurants that serve alcohol.

It's the latest in a surge of restaurant development that downtown boosters hope will stimulate retail growth as well.

"The ultimate goal is for downtown to be the place you come to and not pass through on the way to somewhere else," said Gail Hamilton, director of the Kissimmee Community Redevelopment Agency.

Rodney Forton said he plans to open a Harry Ramsbottom's Inc. pub on Broadway in the spot once occupied by Brown's Cafe. The 47-year-old cafe burned in 1991, and its spot next to the former Kissimmee Authority Building has been empty since.

Forton operates another Harry Ramsbottom's near Old Town that caters mainly to British tourists. He said he intends to appeal to locals and tourists in the downtown location. Tentative plans call for a tapas menu in addition to old British standbys such as fish and chips and steak-and-kidney pie.

"I felt that the downtown area of Kissimmee had so many natural benefits," said Forton, a businessman who also has developed offices nearby.

Other business owners, including restaurateurs, said they welcome anything that enlivens the city.

"For the longest time, they had only two diners here," said Ernesto Navedo, chef and co-owner at Broadway Coffee & Art restaurant, which has been doing a brisk business since it opened in October. "As more restaurants come to downtown Kissimmee, that's going to be better for everybody."

Navedo's restaurant, which features art on the walls and tabletops, including scenes of old Kissimmee, serves beer and wine and has an upscale feel. It has become a favorite "power lunch" spot for local business people.

The restaurant serves Tazo tea and Seattle's Best Coffee, both products of the decidedly upscale Starbucks gourmet coffee company. The menu includes Spanish items, such as carne a la plancha (grilled beef), aimed at least partly at Kissimmee's large Hispanic population.

Soon, Navedo plans to start staying open on Thursday and Friday until 10 p.m., perking up a downtown that not long ago rolled up the sidewalks at dinnertime.

"I like to say Cowssimmee is now Kissmopolitan," said Roy Oddo, owner of Signature by the Lake, a catering company near the Kissimmee lakefront that opens as a restaurant with full bar on Friday nights. Reservation-only gourmet dinners at $50 a person are one of Signature by the Lake's specialties.

In December, Tarantino's Italian restaurant moved from a hotel on Vine Street to downtown, becoming the first restaurant in the immediate Broadway area to stay open at night. The restaurant has a full bar, private rooms for parties and a dining room that looks like an Italian courtyard.

Susan's Courtside Cafe, a couple of blocks away near the county courthouse, is open until 8 p.m. weekdays and serves beer and wine.

Tarantino's, with entrees in the $13 to $14 range for pasta and upwards of $20 for seafood fra diavlo and filet-and-scampi dishes, has brought a professional crowd downtown, locals said.

"We're seeing a suit-and-tie crowd at Ernesto's [broadway Coffee & Art] and Tarantino's," said Jeremy Lanier, manager of Lanier's Historic Downtown Marketplace antique shop and president of Kissimmee Main Street.

Rumor has it that the empty Texaco station and the old library have been sold for redevelopment, but Hamilton said that hasn't been confirmed.

There is also talk that Church Street Station developer Bob Snow is interested in buying the boarded-up Columbia Hotel and opening a saloon there.

More may be made public April 2, when Snow and three other developers unveil their proposals for lakefront development at an all-day presentation at the Kissimmee Civic Center. One of the other contenders is FaulknerUSA, which wants to build a convention center in Osceola County.

On a smaller scale, Breck's Gourmet Cookies opened Monday along with the long-anticipated welcome center at the old Key's Service Station. The center was proposed when the station, which operated for three decades, closed in 1998. Broadway Coffee & Art also has a soda fountain to satisfy Kissimmee's sweet tooth.

Susan Jacobson can be reached at [email protected] or 407-931-5946.

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Altamonte counting on patient developer

The city hopes its new town center, coupled with Emerson International's big development, will create an urban destination at Cranes Roost Lake.

By Jack Snyder | Sentinel Staff Writer

Posted March 21, 2005

If Altamonte Springs and Emerson International Inc. have their way, the city might finally have the downtown it has long coveted.

The first piece of the dream is under construction on 25 acres just west of Altamonte Mall. The $200 million project -- Altamonte town center -- includes apartments, shops and parking.

The second piece is just to the north, where Emerson is presiding over CenterPointe on the Park, a 55-acre development on Cranes Roost Lake that will eventually have seven condominium towers, 900,000 square feet of offices and a hotel with conference center.

"They're absolutely critical to what we're trying to do," Phil Penland, longtime city manager, said of Emerson. "The whole idea is to have a town center where people can live, work, shop and play. That's exactly what Emerson is doing."

The hope is that the mixed-use development and the town center will meld together and "make Altamonte Springs a destination," said Joseph Pasqualetti, president of Emerson International Inc.

Pasqualetti estimates it will take five to 10 years to build out the park.

It's one of several projects that Emerson -- a relatively unknown firm -- is involved in locally.

The Altamonte Springs property was one of Emerson's first acquisitions when its British parent decided to invest in the United States more than two decades ago.

The Emerson Group, based in Manchester, England, made Altamonte Springs its U.S. headquarters and has been quietly investing in Florida ever since.

Pasqualetti says the company currently has a portfolio of about $300 million, nearly all of it in Central Florida.

They're patient investors, said Frank Martz, director of Altamonte Springs Community Development Agency.

"They have been here a long time, and now their vision is coming to fruition," Martz said. "They're good partners to work with."

Peter Emerson Jones founded The Emerson Group in England in 1959. Since then, the company has done residential and commercial development worldwide, though its work has been concentrated in England, the United States and Portugal.

Pasqualetti said one of Emerson International's first U.S. projects was a condominium development in Southwest Florida in the early 1980s. The company then ventured into residential and time-share projects, and acquired the Cranes Roost property in the late 1980s.

The company's home-building company, Jones Homes, is now building in Central Florida.

Emerson's current holdings in the region include: the 200,000-square-foot Major Center Office Plaza near Universal Orlando in south Orlando, the 45,000-square-foot Louisiana Office park in Winter Park, and the 121,524-square-foot Sanlando Center office complex in Longwood.

In recent years, Emerson has pushed further into residential community development.

It's developing the 1,240-acre Eagle Creek community off Narcoossee Road in southeast Orlando. The project -- the first residents have moved in -- will eventually have 3,000 homes, a 200,000-square-foot town center and an 18-hole golf course.

Emerson made its move into residential development just as government regulators were growing more concerned about the effect of such growth upon area schools. Eagle Creek was one of the first developments to come under heightened scrutiny in Orange County.

"It was uncharted water," said Dwight Saathoff, a lawyer with Akerman Senterfitt & Eidson P.A. in Orlando, who represented Emerson International.

To satisfy neighbors and the school system, the developer agreed to provide two schools to support the community.

"I don't think I've had a client with such attention to detail," Saathoff said. "We had well over 100 meetings, and minutes were kept of every one, what was decided, who said what."

Pasqualetti said that attention to detail comes from company founder Peter Jones, who started his career as a carpenter.

On one visit to Eagle Creek's golf course, Jones was unhappy with the 18th hole ending far from the clubhouse. So he ordered it lengthened, turning a Par 4 into a Par 5, Pasqualetti said.

"It cost over $200,000 for the changes, but it brought the hole near the clubhouse," he said.

And it gave Eagle Creek an unusual distinction: With five par 5 holes, it now has a par-73 golf course.

Emerson is also working on a development, Emerson Pointe, on a pricey tract of land between Bay Hill and Isleworth in southwest Orange County.

The land has been developed into 71 building lots, with more than 40 already sold or reserved. Pasqualetti said the project is an example of an investment the company will move on quickly.

"There's very little land available in that area, and that makes for a very good opportunity," he said.

Emerson International has the capital to move quickly -- the Emerson Pointe acreage was purchased for $9 million in cash.

Howard Lee, the director of brokerage for Tower Realty Partners, has dealt with Emerson International both in leasing space in its buildings and in scouting for investments.

"They want to know about every opportunity in the marketplace," Lee said. "I know when they see something they like, they can get a deal done."

Pasqualetti says the company is very selective about its investments, with an eye toward the long term.

"We're very patient," Pasqualetti said. "We are willing to wait until the time is right."

That patience is evident at Cranes Roost. The company's final acquisition there was completed in the late 1980s; so far, about 300,000 square feet of office space and a restaurant, Gina's Lakeside Grill, are in place.

Penland, the city manager, thinks Emerson's share of the development will accelerate as the town center nears completion.

"In 18 months, this is going to be a spectacularly different place," Penland predicted. "And it will keep changing as Emerson's plans come together."

Pasqualetti agrees that change is on the way.

"We're going to help make Altamonte Springs a special place."

Jack Snyder can be reached at 407-420-5094 or [email protected].


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Harley dealership breaking ground in Sanford

Groundbreaking for a new 60,000-square-foot Seminole Harley-Davidson/Buell dealership in Sanford will get under way on March 23.

The dealership, on 5.5 acres on Hickman Circle at Interstate 4 and State Road 46, will replace the current 10,000-square-foot Harley dealership on Highway 17-92. It is expected to open in late summer or early fall of this year.

Owners John Hamer and Rodin Younessi hired Bush Architecture, builder Dan McCartney of McCartney & Co. and engineer Hugh Harling of Harling, Locklin & Associates Inc. to handle the work.

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I used to live in downtown Kissimmee, I'm glad to see it's turning around. That area has really sprawled since I was there, hopefully downtown turns into the "town center" that it used to be. It'd be nice to see the area gentrify a bit too. There's some nice buildings and houses in the area.

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I used to live in downtown Kissimmee, I'm glad to see it's turning around.  That area has really sprawled since I was there, hopefully downtown turns into the "town center" that it used to be.  It'd be nice to see the area gentrify a bit too.  There's some nice buildings and houses in the area.


I think we talked about this before, I lived off Neptune Rd for two years when my parents first moved to Florida before moving up to Orlando. They have definitely come a long way since those days, and I have to say, I think the new Courthouse square area is one of the most beautiful in the state. If you get a chance to make it to the area, its really stunning what they have done with the old courthouse (the oldest in Florida) along with the new one. Also, the Beaumont District--now zoned historical--has seen a lot of renovations and infill in just the last year. People often overlook downtown Kissimmee (especially with the 192 mess) but it is one of the more historical parts of the Central Florida region and its good to see people starting to take an interest there. A nice and vibrant downtown would really compliment some of those Lakefront festivals they have annually, the bluegrass, jazz, and others. The planned Lynx intermodal center and commuter station will also bring thousands of people into downtown once that gets going.

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I unfortunately cannot find the renderings posted in the Osceola News Gazette a while back. It was a canopy type structure like the Orlando one, though less flashy, more in keeping with Kissimmee's surrounding structures. It also incorporates the old Kissimmee train station. Its a multi-block design that extends along the tracks (that makes sense hopefully if you know the area).

These aren't renderings, but there are conceptual plans in pdf format at this website:

Kissimmee Intermodal Center

Hope that helps some.

Edited by prahaboheme
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I think we talked about this before, I lived off Neptune Rd for two years when my parents first moved to Florida before moving up to Orlando.


Maybe we did...

I lived off of Drury, a block from the lake. We used to walk (at least once a day) to a 7-11 just past the train tracks and sometimes to downtown, but there wasn't much there then. I used to wake up early and go fishing all the time on the lake. It was very much a stereotypical small town feel.

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^ thats awesome, we lived off the lake as well and that was definitely the perk of that area. I loved jet skiing out there (much moreso than the College Park chain of lakes) especially for some of the "hidden" islands out there. It was very cool (as long as you aren't afraid of alligators). I imagine its even better now that the hydrilla is gone.

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They are all nested along Hiawasee Road. MetroWest are same as Winter Park, one of the more urban neighbourhood in metro Orlando. Metrowest is getting expensive. If I have to choose between Winter Park and Metrowest, I will choose Metrowest. Both area are close to downtown but Metrowest is also close to the attraction areas and huge mall. When the entire town center are built, the price of the condo will become outrages. The town center built in metrowest have store at gorund level with condo on the second and third level. This is different from Winter Park.

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What's the deal with  the Super Channel 55 building?  Last time I was in Orlando, it was an eyesore and unfinished and had been that way for a long time.  I heard they ran out of money, but will it ever get finished?  It looks like it would add character to the area when completed.  Anybody know about this?


I hear they are paying for the building in cash--no help from any banks so they only do construction after they hold a big fundraiser. When they run out of cash again, construction stops for a while. Last I was driving by, there were some glass panes going up (like 5 floors on one side).

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