By Charlie Reed
For the News-Gazette
Magic Development paid nearly $20 million in cash for 364 acres to expand its luxury development project along west U.S. Highway 192.
The firm bought 87 acres along the U.S. 192, east of Old Town and Celebration, in 2015 with an eye on the larger parcel it now owns, said project
manager and spokesman Hector Lizasuain, a former Osceola County development director for the western 192 corridor.
The land was purchased from an Iowa-based Transcendental Meditation group that planned to build a retreat there.
Instead, the Magic Development wants to build luxury homes that complement the high-end condos, retail stores and hotel already approved for the abutting northern parcel along 192, in the epicenter of Osceola’s tourism industry. It stands to change Osceola’s skyline forever with several high-rise towers to include views of nearby Disney World’s nightly fireworks display.
The large tract of undeveloped land sits across the highway from Eli’s Orange World, a landmark fruit stand in the western tourist corridor.
The additional acreage will be rolled into the existing Magic Place Community Development District. The cash deal, said Lizasuain, reflects the company’s modus operandi.
“We don’t want to build unless we have the money,” he said. “That way, when something like the economic crash happens we don’t have to worry.”
Now dubbed Magic City, the development, especially with its latest land acquisition, allows the company to expand its business plan and gives way to potential new infrastructure, including a thoroughfare connecting 192 and Oren Brown Road, Lizasuain said.
More than 1800-plus condominiums at Magic Village 1 and 2, the first phases of the development, already have sold out, mostly to Brazilian and Chinese owners, he said. The third condo phase will include some 400 units and a headquarters office for Magic Development, owned by three Brazilian investors. Plans for the 250,000 square feet of retail shopping space, the hotel and the single-family luxury home development are moving forward, he said.
A lack of executive housing has hampered Osceola County from attracting more higher-paying companies so “we’re trying to resolve that and diversify the market,”
Lizasuain left his job at the county after more than 18 years in 2015 to work for Magic Development and said he believes the company’s plans will be a boon for Kissimmee and Osceola County and elevate the area’s reputation as a stand-alone destination.
“I left the county for this project right here,” he said. “The impact it will have in our community will be incredible.”
The county’s proximity to Central Florida’s theme parks is its main draw, although times are changing. Local officials for years have been looking to bring high-tech companies here to bolster tourism and agriculture, Osceola’s main industries. And it’s finally here.
NeoCity, a public-private high-tech manufacturing initiative anchored by the University of Central Florida, is now open in Kissimmee. The Belgian nanotechnology research company IMEC is one example of a company operating from the new research park.