Developer proposes commercial, apartments in Oakland mixed-use project

Representatives from OneEleven Residential held a community meeting last week to get Oakland resident feedback on a 22.5-acre piece of property west of Florida’s Turnpike.

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Oakland residents participated in a community meeting May 13, curious about a mixed-use project proposed on West Colonial Drive just west of the Florida’s Turnpike.

The developer, OneEleven Residential, held the meeting at the Oakland Meeting Hall in two sessions to “gather meaningful feedback from residents.”

OneEleven chief executive John Zeledon and senior managing director Erik Halverson presented their proposed plan and said they have been working with town staff for about eight months — and went through numerous alterations — “to develop a site plan we believe the town is looking more favorably to,” Zeledon said.

The 22.5-acre property is bound by Colonial to the south, the turnpike to the north and businesses to the east and west.

“There is a lot of traffic, a lot of visibility, close to major arteries,” Zeledon said. “From a mixed-use perspective, this is ideal. Over the long-term, that will be a very, very viable piece of land for what the town is wanting us to do.”

The town of Oakland created a Gateway Corridor District in 2014 that provides strict guidelines for development along the town’s two main thoroughfares, Oakland Avenue and Colonial.

“Within the immediate adjacent areas, there are two industrial uses, our site, Palm Casual and two gas stations — we are buffered by effectively commercial uses,” Zeledon said.

The proposed site plan calls for roughly 50% commercial space in front (to the south) and about 50% residential in the back.

Halverson said the commercial market is fragmented right now because of the pandemic and it’s hard to pinpoint what will be the best businesses for the commercial portion.

When Zeledon and Halverson were asked if they intend to seek unique businesses or big-box stores such as Target and Walmart, Halverson replied: “We want the highest-end user that we can get.”

Developers are proposing 240 apartments bordering the turnpike on the north side of the property.

One road would run through the property, and all traffic would enter and exit at Colonial — and the idea is to create a walkable community between the residential and commercial.

The apartment buildings would be high quality, they said, with four stories, an elevator and enclosed hallways; monthly rent would be in the $1,300-to-$2,000 range. Halverson said the apartment complex would produce about quadruple the tax base that a store such as Target does in the Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves.

“They’re not simply rental units but someone’s home,” Zeledon said. “We want residents to feel proud of where they live.”

OneEleven also is working on a connection to the West Orange Trail as well.

Zeledon and Halverson both worked for national development firms before forming OneEleven Residential so their scope of work was closer to home. Their most recent project is a development near Lake Ivanhoe.

OneEleven will act as the project builder too, and the developers said they are excited to work within the guidelines of the Gateway Corridor District.

“We’re going to ride this all the way through,” Zeledon said.

The land is former planted pine space, so the trees were planted to be harvested. Halverson said they will not be taking out any specimen or legacy trees. Developers plan to keep a pine-tree buffer of 14 to 20 feet between the apartments and the turnpike.

The next step for the developers is to present a formal application to town staff.

The meeting was a requirement of the town of Oakland as part of the development review process. The developers must go through public meetings before the Appearance Review Board, Planning & Zoning Board and Town Commission and must meet town code prior to approval.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.