O-Town West development well underway

With White Castle now open, Portillo’s scheduled to welcome guests later this month and Lake Buena Vista High opening across the street in August, the O-Town West development is taking shape.

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  • | 10:42 a.m. June 2, 2021
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Courtesy photo
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When the world’s largest White Castle opened in the O-Town West development, there was a feeling it would do well — although no one knew just how well.

On its opening day, the fast-food chain — located at 11595 Daryl Carter Parkway — saw long lines formed down the road, and the wait was as long as four hours for people trying to get some of White Castle’s famous sliders. 

A video that went viral on Twitter showed the mass of cars sitting still in the road. For Chuck Whittall — the founder, CEO and president of Unicorp National Developments, which is developing O-Town West — it was a welcome sight.

“We thought it would be a big deal — because it has a cult-like following to it — but they still have couple hours-a-day lines,” Whittall said. “It’s becoming more normalized, but still they’re very long lines and they’re very, very successful. We’re glad to see that, and … it’s just proving now that this location will certainly draw people and was ready for development.”

The success of the new White Castle has been a tremendous boost for the new development, but it’s just one of a few changes that have happened since Whittall announced the coming of O-Town West a few years back. 

Courtesy rendering
Courtesy rendering


The $1 billion mixed-use community development located in Southwest Orange County spans nearly 350 acres across four different commercial centers: The City Center, The Village, The Crossings and the Town Center. The City Center has seen some of the most changes recently. 

Last June, Orange County commissioners approved an amendment to the future land-use map to allow for the 350,000-square-foot office building — which will have more than 1,600 employees on the premises daily — to house the corporate headquarters for the division of Marriott that oversees its vacation properties. That plan was put on hold last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Whittall said that will be back on track sooner than later.

“We still plan on putting a high-end hotel there — we are starting up plans to do that as we speak — and we’re going to put our new headquarters there … we’re actually going to double the size, we just need more space, and we’re going to have some really high-end restaurants that we’re not ready to announce yet,” Whittall said.

Whittall said the headquarters will jump from 15,000 to 30,000 square feet, while the Zen Hotel also will be getting an upgrade in size — going from 166 rooms to 200.

Meanwhile, video mapping will be added on the buildings, and more entertainment will be utilized — especially on the weekends, when a DJ is brought in. There’s also a plan to create a pool club at the pool.


Courtesy rendering
Courtesy rendering

Located on the northwest corner of Palm and Daryl Carter parkways, The Village is the home of many fast-food spots — including White Castle and Portillo’s, which will open on June 15 — and the Glasshouse Apartments. 

Currently, many of the buildings — including the apartments — are well underway in the construction phase, and all but one or two spots remain available. Some buildings will be completed within the next two months, Whittall said.

Among the most important items to finish construction is the Daryl Carter Parkway, the road that runs east-west through the project. Right across the street — adjacent to The Village — is the new Lake Buena Vista High School, which Whittall is excited to have close by to the community he is helping to build. 

“Every day when you have moms, dads and kids there on a daily basis, people will naturally use the different services and businesses that are there,” Whittall said. “It does make it more a part of the community and ensures success for everybody.”


Not much has changed in The Crossings — located on the northeast corner of Palm Parkway and Daryl Carter Parkway — but the opening of the new AdventHealth Palm Parkway ER adjacent to the development has helped add to the bustling new community.

The Crossings itself — which is 25,888 square feet in size — features  restaurants like World of Beer, Bella Tuscany and Burger Fi.


The 133,000-square-foot Town Center will be home to a brand new Publix, as well as The Bentley Luxury Apartments.

“We’re building The Bentley which, just like the car, is going to be very high end,” Whittall said. “They’re just incredibly nice — waterfall countertops, quartz countertops, high-end appliances (and) all of the fixtures you’d expect to find in a million-dollar home.”

In April, Unicorp received a $68 million construction loan for The Bentley from Centennial Bank, which will go toward helping get the 396-unit apartment tower up off the ground. While most of O-Town West will be finished this year, Whittall said the completion date for The Bentley will be toward the end of next year.

“We’re just hoping we bring a great experience to everybody and that everybody will enjoy all the new businesses that we’ve brought there, and we think that they will,” Whittall said. “There is a lot of residential around there, and everybody has to go to Sand Lake now, and this will slowly decongest Sand Lake a little bit, and it will fill the needs of the people who live in that community.”


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