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ORLANDO-Kevin H. Azzouz, who has headed a half dozen computer software companies in the past 10 years, is branching out into commercial real estate for the first time with Veranda Park, a planned eight-building, 550-apartment urban village-concept venture on 43 acres in the 1,800-acre MetroWest, one of Orlando’s most successful mixed-use developments over the past 20 years.

Azzouz, chairman of Orlando-based Azzouz Holding Corp., couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline. But associates who have worked with him in the past tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity the undertaking by Veranda Partners LLC will have a development cost of at least $100 million.

Azzouz is waiting on city approval for the residential component of the project; 383,206 sf of commercial; 300,000 sf of retail; a parking garage; movie theatre and post office. Apartments would be built above the retail and office space in two-story, three-story and four-story buildings.

The developer plans to open the project in fall 2003 along Hiawassee Road, south of MetroWest Boulevard. The site is 15 miles from Walt Disney World.

Veranda Park arrives amidst a flurry of urban village-town center projects being developed or proposed locally and nationally by various developers..

Veranda Park would be the largest retail undertaking in 20-year-old MetroWest. Wal-Mart has a 229,000-sf supercenter. The 12-year-old Village Shopping Center is 100,000 sf. The newly proposed Esplanade Center of Park Place will be 200,000 sf.

Average quoted rents are in the $18 per sf to $25 per sf range, area brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

For Azzouz, real estate development and real estate-related ventures have always been his primary interest after high-tech, associates tell GlobeSt.com.

He is co-CEO of Watertown, MA-based Primix Solutions Inc. with Lennart Mengwall who is also supposed to have an interest in Veranda Partners, area brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

Azzouz is also a general partner of Avix Associates LP which is the general partner of Avix Ventures LP. From 1994 to 1996, Azzouz was president/chief operating officer of Arcada Software. Azzouz had turned his Quest Development Co. into Arcada in December 1993.

Azzouz’s Seagate Software Co. bought Arcada in March 1996. But in June of that year, Azzouz left Seagate to spend more time with his family in the southwest Orlando suburb of Windermere. He found time, however, in July 1997, to buy a controlling interest in One Wave Inc., another software venture.

Orlando-based Azzouz Holding Corp. is the general partner of Azzouz LP, a principal stockholder in Azzouz Holding.

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