Developers look to revamp Jai Alai building in Fern Park into retail, residential and gambling space

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — For decades, the old Jai Alai building in Fern Park was a mecca for sports wagering on jai alai matches.

And sports wagering and gambling may be on its way back as the owner is looking to create a development with areas for retail, residences and even gambling.

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The owner of the property said they plan to go before commissioners next month to pitch the proposal.

This is a project that has been in development for nearly a decade now, but it stalled because they needed to update the water and sewer infrastructure on the property.

The owner said gambling is a small but important part of the overall development.

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Residents can prepare to say goodbye to the Jai Alai building, which now houses a church.

It will eventually be torn down to make way for Oxford Town Center, a self-sustaining community.

The project will include about 1,200 residential units, and almost 70,000 square feet of commercial space on the base floor.

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Attorney Marc Jones, who represents the project, said a partnership between the owner of the property and the Cordish Companies will also bring an idea to life that they have done in other parts of the country.

An entertainment complex called “Live” will also offer live music, as well as poker and gaming rooms at the venue.

There are still big hurdles to overcome in bringing gaming to the complex, Jones said. The project team will present its plans to commissioners next month in hopes that they put a referendum on the ballot so voters can decide.

The project is still in the early phases, but Jones said the potential tax revenue could bring in around $4 million a year, not to mention the jobs it will create.

See more in the video above.

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Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.