are holding a neighborhood meeting about Orlando’s newest urban mixed-use development on Monday, June 11 at 6pm at the Loch Haven Neighborhood Center, 610 North Lake Formosa Drive.
It’d be important to look at the changing plans that Mills Park call for
what is now a glorified strip mall instead of the midrise development
that the Mills Park website still claims is coming.
Here is the updated plans http://www.debartolodevelopment.com/downloads/119-fl-orlando-mills-park-ppt.html
the original plans were a great addition to Mills/50 the new strip mall
with surface parking is the exact opposite of what this district needs,
at least in IMHO.
It is easy to snipe at it but having been through the original discussions and city meetings years ago with the neighborhood groups this is much better than what could go in. If Pelloni gives up this property the PD that Orlando gave him to build on the land goes. It reverts back to the straight commercial zone.
That means big box retail development. Wal-Mart had option on this land years ago but let it slide because of the environmental issues. They lacked the vision or the resources. Also, with that zoning they would not have to make up for traffic patterns and would not have to take comment on neighborhood effects or aesthetics. City planners warned that legally there would be nothing anybody could do to stop it. Pelloni has taken care of that and while this plan is a sliver of the original ideas it is much better than the high volume misery that we would not be able to stop if Wal-Mart came in. Wal-Mart wants a site near downtown for a long time and would probably be one of the main competitors for the land.Also, the lack of more residential housing is a good thing. That is not what we need is more empty housing.
So, our options: strip mall that looks nice and has a (supposed) fresh market, dirt lot, or a Wal-Mart or equivalent.
I go with what Pelloni is building. And I live less than one block away, two houses in from Mills, I am going to be dealing with it daily, I am ok with it and sure that those living around here are going to be too.
I agree with the preference for Something, anything other than a Wal-Mart for sure. What I see though is a certain lack of creativity in regards to design in a project with very little congruence with the neighborhood aesthetic. Specifically, the giant hole visible from Mills into the Parking lot and a general disregard for local flavor. In terms of walkable connectivity, the parking lot pond does little in the way of inspiring foot traffic. This is only a small step up from bland, rehashed, corporate design visible in Sodo or Winter Park Village, both pretty sterile and unappealing. Am I happy it’s not a big box? Yes. Could a few changes make this project a stand out instead of a compromise? Probably.