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ORLANDO-In an anticipated $500 million Downtown redevelopment, four developers are trying to cut separate economic incentive deals with the city of Orlando to revive the seven-acre, mixed-use Church Street Station attraction and the adjoining Church Street Market retail complex.

The developers are Euro-American Advisors, the Tampa-based arm of Euro-American Investors Group of The Hague; the Don M. Casto Organization of Columbus, OH; GDC Properties Inc. of Hawthorne, NY; Orlando-based music entrepreneur Louis J. Pearlman; and Tavistock Group of Orlando, bankrolled by Joe Lewis, the retired London industrialist whose family-run companies own two of Orlando’s high-end residential communities, Lake Nona and Isleworth.

Orlando area brokers familiar with the Downtown redevelopment tell GlobeSt.com the first project off the drawing boards is expected to be Euro-American’s $100 million, 30-story, 248-unit condominium and retail venture at the site of the 78,000-sf, 75% vacant Church Street Market building. Euro-American, headed by Harry Bessem, has owned Church Street Market since 1993.

Orlando-based Olde Town Brokers is marketing the condos and plans to open a Downtown preview center May 17. The project is tentatively called 55 West on the Esplanade and will offer 800-sf studio units to 6,000-sf penthouses with starting prices of $150,000 for the smaller units to $1.5 million-plus for the penthouse units. The project is tentatively scheduled to break ground in late 2004.

The rebirth of the 800,000-sf Church Street Station tract is expected to follow the start of the Church Street Market. Entrepreneur Pearlman–the Flushing, NY native who made international headlines and millions with his Backstreet Boys band in the 1990s–plans to invest about $10 million in face-lifting Church Street Station where his international headquarters will also be located. That long discussed project is expected to start construction this year.

Still on the drawing boards, however, are structural, design and financial plans for the 2.5-acre Jaymont Block in the center of Downtown’s financial and office district. The forlorn-looking area could be revived with a movie theater, retail and high-rise residential, according to representatives of the Don M. Casto Organization, Tavistock Group and GDC Properties.

The Casto group already has shown its prowess in redevelopment circles with the 1999 Winter Park Village enterprise, created on the site of a failing mall in suburban Winter Park, FL.

John M. Crossman, senior vice president in the retail investment services division of Trammell Crow Co., tells GlobeSt.com Church Street could lead the area’s growth pattern in 2003.

“Most new retail development in Central Florida is focused on town centers in residential developments,” Crossman says. “The Church Street district is an exceptional urban retail and entertainment area with significant capacity for growth.”

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