Affordable senior housing is being proposed behind commercial plaza along Lake Underhill Road – GrowthSpotter

The owner of a commercial center in east Orange County wants to add affordable housing to its property.

Blue Castle Development LLC, a company led by medical doctor and real estate developer, Neil Coskun, is requesting a pre-app meeting with Orange County’s Development Review Committee to discuss the feasibility of building senior housing behind the Palms Plaza shopping center on Lake Underhill Road, across from AdventHealth East Orlando.

The property owner has assigned Sam Sebaali, president and CEO of Florida Engineering Group Inc. to oversee the proposed project. According to recently submitted application materials, the applicant wants to turn some underutilized land by the commercial center into an affordable senior living development.

Plans call for a 4-story, 84-unit senior living facility with a large courtyard at its center.

Minneapolis-based Dominium and nonprofit TPI are moving forward with plans for a 288-unit age-restricted affordable housing complex. Features include a pool, a large courtyard area, a dog park, a gathering garden and a bocce ball court.

The roughly 24,000-square-foot Palms Plaza at 7780 Lake Underhill Rd. was built in 2017. It includes two commercial buildings, where tenants include Quest Diagnostics, Mecatos Bakery and Cafe, State Farm Sprint, Taco Maker Mexican Grill, Muzzarella Pizza and Italian Kitchen and Viva Wellness and Injury, among others.

Records show Vista Pointe Family LP, also led by Dr. Coskun, paid $694,700 for the then-vacant property. In total, the site encompasses 37 acres and is mostly made up of preserved wetlands. In 2015, the company sold the rights to the property to Blue Castle Development LLC for $381,500.

The Palms Plaza is one of two properties Dr. Coskun’s Blue Castle Development LLC owns in Orange County.

In Ocoee, the LLC also owns about 3.4 acres at 9729 W. Colonial Drive. In 2019, the developer was looking to build up to 15,750 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the property. Plans fell through, despite clearing the city’s Development Review Committee and Planning & Zoning Commission.

Attempts to reach Dr. Coskun were unsuccessful.

A number of developers are looking to update their retail centers by building multifamily projects on excess land. In other instances, developers are tearing down old buildings and replacing them with apartments.

In September, GrowthSpotter reported that West Second Street Associates is exploring the idea of building at least 80 residential units dedicated to workforce housing behind the Premium Shoppes retail center at 8600 Vineland Avenue.

That same month, the Delaware bank that owns Orlando Fashion Square on Colonial Drive submitted plans in the City of Orlando seeking to add 1,400 residential units, in addition to 177,000 square feet of new retail uses and a 120-room hotel to the aging retail property.

Phase 1 of the plan would introduce a new 400-unit apartment building and event lawn.

Plans for the four-phase redevelopment involve keeping the existing Macy’s building and parking garage. The Floor & Dècor and Dick’s Sporting Goods buildings will remain, as well as stand-alone restaurants Olive Garden and Longhorn Steaks and the Bank of America building. Everything else would be demolished and replaced.