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ORLANDO-With a $1.42 million economics incentive package on the table from the city, GDC Properties Inc. of Hawthorne, NY has agreed to shrink its previously planned $30 million Uptown Orlando mixed-use venture to an estimated $10 million project enveloping 80 apartment units, a 35,000-sf supermarket, 20,000 sf of other retail and a 280-space garage.

A first-quarter 2003 ground-breaking is tentatively scheduled for the project which will bring Downtown its first supermarket in 10 years. The retail-starved central business district has grown to 2,000 new apartments in the past five years. The nearest supermarket, a Publix, is a mile from Downtown.

“That new supermarket, if it comes through, will give Downtown its strongest development push in a decade,” Dean Fritchen, senior associate, Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT, Winter Park, FL, tells GlobeSt.com.

Publix Supermarkets Inc. of Lakeland, FL and Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. of Tallahassee, FL, the state’s largest grocers, are expected to vie intensely for the Downtown site, retail brokers intimate with the CBD submarket tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. Albertson’s Inc. of Boise, IA is also expected to bid for the location.

Michael Mulhall, GDC’s Florida director, couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline to learn the total cost of the scaled-down project and the individual hard costs of its components.

GDC had previously planned an eight-story, 338-unit multifamily/retail enterprise on the 3.6-acre site on Orange Avenue between Marks and Park Lake Streets. The site is on the former Olympia Place office/mixed-use project that never succeeded in developing the second phase of the 19-story, 400,000-sf office tower.

The city’s incentives package to GDC comprises $750,000 over four years for the parking and retail space; and rebates of $668,700 in property taxes generated by Uptown Orlando through 2015. Mulhall says in a published report the city’s gift makes the project practical for the developer.

City council, sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, has to formally approve the incentives package later this month.

In Orlando’s central business district, GDC continues to plan its $40 million, 30-story, 250-unit mixed-use venture on an acre at Magnolia Avenue and Church and Cort Streets, as reported by GlobeSt.com July 26. In Celebration, FL, a town of 8,000 residents owned by Walt Disney World Co., GDC is completing Mirasola at Celebration, a planned 210-unit, $42 million luxury rental community, 20 miles south of Downtown Orlando.

In Atlanta, GDC this week purchased the Heights at Cheshire Bridge, a 318-unit, 95%-leased, one-year-old apartment community where the average monthly rent is $1,259. The purchase price from Atlanta-based Worthing Cos. was $36.1 million or $113,522 per unit.

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