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ORLANDO-A decision by the city to rezone 20 acres on South Orange Avenue to planned development pushes a 700,000-sf plan by Kimco Developers and North American Properties closer to a start date. The project will be known as SoDo for its location south of Downtown; NAP declines to reveal the development costs.

The joint venture submitted the zoning application to the city earlier this year, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. With the move by the city, the industrial block between Grand and West Crystal Lake streets will be transformed into an “urban activity center,” according to Cincinnati-based NAP. Sources previously put the price tag for SoDo at an estimated $100 million.

An NAP spokeswoman tells GlobeSt.com that the company identified the site in 2005 and has been working closely with the city and our catalyst retailers to bring the urban activity center to fruition. Predevelopment work is expected to start immediately, with construction getting under way by the end of the year. The 20-acre site currently houses a retail center, Pollo Tropical, Taco Bell and a former drive-in theater.

When completed in fall 2008, SoDo will feature 330,000 sf of retail space, including several anchor tenants and nearly 70,000 sf of restaurant and boutique space; 54,000 sf of second-floor office space; and 300 luxury residential units. Wood Partners is developing the residential component, according to NAP. The project will also include parking structures.

“SoDo will push Orlando’s southside renaissance a giant leap forward by providing the development catalyst for future growth,” explains Tonya Creekmore, NAP’s vice president of leasing. “Factors including Central Florida’s unbridled growth as well as Downtown Orlando’s revitalization have aligned to make this site prime for redevelopment.”

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