Walt Disney World will retain 237,000 square feet of retail space at the nearby Flamingo Crossings, west of S.R. 429.
Unlike Disney Springs, where “experiential” and higher-end retailers were installed, retailers planned for Flamingo Crossings will be value-oriented and the dining options mostly fast-casual, said Henry Thrash, Disney’s senior real estate manager, from the floor of ICSC Florida Conference & Deal Making on Monday.
The concept plan shown to ICSC attendees depicted 29 retail and restaurant buildings across approximately 45 upland acres to be developed in three phases, bounded by Flamingo Crossings Boulevard and Flagler Avenue, with about 12 acres of it south of Western Way.
Disney may offer land leases or develop building shells and lease the space, Thrash said. No development plans have been produced yet for the retail segments, which will go through the Reedy Creek Improvement District for governmental review. Thrash said he expects to see the first phase of retail under construction by this time in 2018.
This plan does not include the 154 acres south of Western Way where Disney is planning 1,300 student apartments for the Disney College Program, as well as another 150,000 square feet of commercial space.
Construction on the four-lane extension of Western Way from the Flamingo Crossings area westward to Avalon Road through Disney-owned property is now underway by the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
The Flamingo Crossings retail center is meant to support the two existing hotels and five future ones planned around it in the coming years. Developer JL Properties bought the first two hotel sites in Flamingo Crossings in December 2013 and built a SpringHill Suites by Marriott and TownePlace Suites by Marriott, both of which opened in early 2016.
JL bought the third hotel site in September 2015 and plans a 250-key Hampton Inn & Suites there as the third hotel. Four other hotel sites totaling 15.7 acres were bought in June and July 2016 by Orlando Hotel Group LLC with an expectation of four more select-service hotels carrying Marriott and Hilton flags, Thrash said. Development plans for those hotel sites are expected to follow Disney’s development of the central retail, or be staggered with phases of the retail.
Disney of course first announced the 450-acre Flamingo Crossings project way back in 2007, putting the project on hold during the economic recession. The two hotels constructed starting in 2014 marked the first activity on the land since Disney’s initial announcement.