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Orange County Board of Commissioners nixes Dr. Phillips shopping center

The Orange County Board of Commissioners and residents of the southwest Orlando suburb of Doctor Phillips have put the kibosh on plans to bring an upscale mixed-use development to the area, at least as it is presently envisioned.

The Falls at Sand Lake was conceptualized as a 30,000-square foot, $15 million development that would have had retail space, apartments and an adjacent luxury home development. Orlando-based Unicorp National Developments, Inc. was the driving force behind the project.

Apparently, residents were concerned about the additional traffic and strain on utilities and infrastructure that the shopping center would generate. The parcel of real estate that The Falls would have been built on is the former site of a church along Sand Lake Road.

Also, Trader's Joe's was one of the original names being bandied about as a possible tenant for The Falls, but it has evidently selected other developments to explore as potential new sites. That seems to have quelled some of the initial buzz about the development.

A spokesman for the developer said he is considering reworking the project to see if it can meet Unicorp's commercial goals while putting to rest some of the concerns of area residents.

Something about this story gives us the feeling that its ending has not yet been written. For one thing, the Board of Commissioners actually approved the residential element of Unicorp's plan (just not the retail portion) and for another, it seems entirely realistic that a plan more in keeping with residents' preferences might be in the near future.

Source: The Orlando Business Journal, "Residents, board nix plan for potential Trader Joe's-anchored shopping center in Dr. Phillips," Anjali Fluker, March 25, 2013

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