Orange Crown Holdings LLC unveiled plans this week for a 6-acre, mixed-use development as part of Longwood’s planned commuter rail station village. The Orlando firm, which last year assembled the site surrounding the city’s proposed SunRail station, is targeting 2010 as its construction start date for its project tentatively dubbed Longwood Station TOD (transit-oriented development).
The $14 million first phase would include more than 100,000 square feet of apartments, office space and retail in a live/work environment, said Ryan von Weller, a principal of Orange Crown Holdings along with business partner Kevin Kroll. SunRail, Central Florida’s planned 61.5-mile commuter rail system from DeLand to Poinciana, earlier this month passed the state Senate Judiciary Committee and next is scheduled to go to the Senate Transportation & Economic Development Committee for approval, followed by a vote by the Senate Policy & Steering Committee on Ways & Means. Votes by those two committees were not scheduled as of March 18. Once it clears that hurdle, von Weller said the city is ready to embrace the mixed-use village plans. Orange Crown Holdings eventually plans to take the project through large-scale comprehensive plan approvals with the state, through the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council’s development of regional impact process, said von Weller.
Longwood already developed a revised master plan, creating Heritage Village along Ronald Reagan Boulevard from East Palmetto Avenue to just north of Longwood Boulevard. The area would include small shops, offices and multifamily residences surrounding the commuter train station. “We’ve tried to identify what’s been missing with Longwood,” von Weller said. “There’s little, if any, multifamily housing. There’s limited new office construction and [pedestrian-friendly] retail. This kind of mixed-use development will be new and fresh for the city.”
Longwood’s overall Heritage Village appears to be one of Central Florida’s first transit-oriented areas tailored to the city’s needs, said Larry Adams, founding partner and president of ACI Architects Inc. in Winter Park. ACi, which was the city’s consultant in the Heritage Village master plan, is the planner and architect on the Longwood Station TOD project. “What’s really cool about this is we don’t have to build big projects to make this successful around the stations,” Adams said. “They just need to be customized to what’s important in that local economy.”