ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Dozens of businesses on Disney’s doorstep, which are being forced out to make way for an I-4 expansion, may have a new place to open up shop.
Last week, Channel 9 traffic anchor Racquel Asa reported all of the businesses at the Crossroads Shopping Plaza, at the interchange of I-4 and State Route 535, have to move out by 2021 so FDOT can widen and improve I-4 near Walt Disney World.
Now it seems at least one developer would be happy to take the soon-to-be-uprooted businesses.
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“We are going to be the very next exit up to the north and they are putting a whole new interchange there for access,” said Chuck Wittall from Unicorp Development, which is building a new development called O-Town West about a mile away along I-4, near the intersection of Palm Parkway and Daryl Carter Parkway.
Location of the proposed O-Town West property
Wittall is the man behind the Icon 360 property on International Drive.
The state is paying out nearly $147 million to some of the tenants at the Crossroads Shopping Plaza. Renderings from the state show the Crossroads property is needed to build a retention pond and expansion for the I-4 & SR-535 interchange.
The businesses, which include Uno Pizzeria, Johnnie’s Hideaway and Pirate’s Cove golf course among others, will be allowed to stay in their current location rent free until August 2021.
“None of them have a sense of urgency, but I don’t think they understand,” Whittall said. “It takes three or four months to do drawings. It takes four to five months to get a permit and then it takes a year to build, so right now is the time that they need to start making a decision.”
FDOT did not give Channel 9 a timetable on the construction and demolition of the property because other land deals are still being finalized in the project corridor. Construction will likely begin after August 2021.
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