At $1.2B, will Osceola County's Center for International Commerce be worth it?

Welcome to our Orlando business and commercial law blog. Since we work with businesses owners, entrepreneurs and other professionals, we see staying abreast of current developments in the local business community to be a part of our commitment to providing top-flight customer service. At least once a week, we will use this blog as a platform to offer insight, general analysis and news information relevant to the Orlando area. We certainly hope you will check in with us regularly.

One regional news story that we are following with interest is the development of the Center for International Commerce. As Orlando residents who skim the business pages might already know, this retail, commercial and hotel mixed-use development in Osceola County has a price tag of $1.2 billion and is envisioned as a way for Asian and South American businesses to find opportunities with European and U.S. buyers.

Mixed-use developments like this are a trend in commercial real estate. U.S. consumers seem to have tired of shopping malls and prefer "lifestyle centers," which offer a wider variety of destinations (i.e. stores, health clinics, gyms, condominiums) in a concentrated space that is laid out in a format that is more attractive than the "big box" arrangement of most shopping malls.

We are interested in the Compass project (as it has been nicknamed) because Osceola County estimates it will have a $1.4 billion economic impact and generate 12,500 jobs. While those numbers sound wonderful, projects do not always live up to their sky-high expectations. Whether this project will justify its $1.2 billion cost is something to which we all may want to pay attention.

In any event, construction on the Compass project is not expected to start until June 2014 and will take five years to complete, so this is a story we are going to watch for years to come.

Source: The Orlando Business Journal, "Osceola County's Compass project to have $1.4B economic impact," Richard Bilbao, Dec. 11, 2012

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