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ORLANDO-Developer Beat Kahli rarely walks away from a deal once he has put money on the table. But he is doing it now with a $32 million contract he signed in February to acquire the dormant, 25-year-old, 2,408-acre International Corporate Park in east Orange County from Price Legacy Corp. of San Diego.

The deal is scheduled to close Nov. 10. But Kahli tells GlobeSt.com that after six months of intense analysis, he and his partners at Orlando-based Avalon Park Associates LP feel the time is not right to proceed with the re-development of the park. Kahli is most concerned with growing traffic congestion and a lack of new roads in east Orange County that would cripple any new mixed-use venture in that area.

“I would like to do the project at some time but that time probably won’t come until Alafaya Road is extended, and that may not happen for many more years,” Kahli tells GlobeSt.com.

Kahli’s preliminary master plan comprised an estimated 5,000 single-family and multifamily shelter units and seven million sf of industrial, light manufacturing and retail. That concept would have been a reduction from the 20 million sf of commercial space the park was initially approved for in 1986 when it was owned by Swiss Bank Corp.

“Many characteristics of the ICP site make it perfect for the sort of premier family community we envisioned, and all of our preliminary investigations led us in that direction,” Kahli says.

But “on extensive further analysis, we have concluded that the proximity of the site to the Econlockhatchee river, a vital natural resource in east Orlando, and the additional traffic such development would generate on roads which are almost at capacity now, are simply too significant,” Kahli says. “We might get all our approvals, and our development might generate a profit, but it would not significantly increase the quality of life here in east Orlando.”

Additional projects for the developer include Avalon Park, an 1,860-acre, 5,000-home community, 15 miles north of the International Corporate Park site, which Kahli has been developing for the past eight years. Also, in Tampa, FL, he is developing New River Township, a planned 1,800-acre, 4,800-unit community expected to take 10 years to build out.

The developer calls east Orlando “a thriving community that is growing.” Kahli says he and his associates have made “an extensive investment here and we still have several years of development to do at Avalon Park.”

Although the housing mark is strong, “there are times when a development project’s economics don’t provide all the answers,” Kahli tells GlobeSt.com. “Our goal was to design a model community at East Orlando Township (International Corporate Park’s new name). In this case, the model solution is to say no.”

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