‘Pretty solid plan:’ Orlando leaders see promise in new ideas for Fashion Square Mall

‘Pretty solid plan:’ Orlando leaders see promise in new ideas for Fashion Square Mall

ORLANDO, Fla. – After failed attempts in the past, the owner of the Fashion Square Mall has officially submitted an application to the Orlando City Municipal Planning Board to revitalize the once-thriving mall. Commissioner Robert Stuart believes it’s a plan that after many failed attempts could actually stick.

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“We have seen eight or 10 plans over the last 15 years, so we actually have somebody who (has) a pretty solid plan and have some money behind it,”Stuart spoke Wednesday.

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The attorneys for Bancorp and Baker Barrios architects applied to redevelop the mall as a mixed use property. Construction will take place in three phases.

The overall plan will include keeping anchor stores at the mall, like Floor and Decor and Macy’s, but getting rid of other big names like J.C. Penney and Dillard’s. The plan calls for the demolition of the mall’s middle structure and its reconstruction to allow for outdoor commercial space. Phase 4 will also see the construction of a 120-room hotel, and eventually 1,400 residential apartments. Phase 1 will see the construction of 400 market units.

“This is a good plan, it has mixed-use, it’s going to create a Winter Park Village feel to it which will attract people,”Stuart said. “We have a glut of people who need housing and we don’t have enough housing to accomplish that task. It would be marketplace housing at the same time we are going to look at additional hosing that could be affordable housing.”

These plans will be developed over the next few months. However, Orlando YIMBY is committed to providing more housing. “Yes, in my back yard,” as explained by the group’s co-chair Austin Valle.

“We are excited to see housing is built into part of it, that’s really what we want to see, mixed-use where you are living, shopping, working in the same area,” Valle said. “We do wish it was more transit-oriented, more walkable. There is a lot of parking there, it’s still car-oriented.”

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Stuart explains that this is why Stuart believes it is important to include a pedestrian and bike trail connecting the property. This will connect Cady Way and Urban Bike Trails.

“We need access, we need people to get through there and you’ve got a trail that’s ideal,”Stuart said. “If you do that, you will get Baldwin Park, Winter Park, and get there without using their car.”

“This is in the right direction. If you think about what it does, it connects shopping and retail to folks who live in Baldwin Park right on that trail,” Valle said. “I couldn’t believe it came together, we will see when they break it all down. It’s been a long time coming.”

Stuart said that the plan was just submitted by the Orlando Municipal Planning Board. Stuart also stated that it could take four to six months for the Orlando City Council’s final approval.

“This is one that actually has some bite to it and some money to actually do it,”Stuart said. “The process begins now. It will go through evaluation and go through the planning board and then come to us after some public meetings.”

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