A New Lake Nona in Mount Dora? Long-planned Innovation District Could Kick Off Soon


Mount Dore Change is happening quickly in the eastern parts of Mount Dora and Sorrento, where decades of plans for development are taking hold. State Road 46 and Round Lake Road are the intersections of hundreds of acres of cattle ranchland, with lots of homes on big lots. A spur of the Wekiva Parkway opened two years ago, which has led to a lot of people moving to this area and building homes.

More than 850 acres are part of the Wolf Branch Innovation District, where more than 2,500 multifamily units and a lot of office and industrial space are planned. The area includes subdivisions that are or are likely to become part of Mount Dora. If all that is possible is built in the next few years, it will change the rolling hills outside of Mount Dora’s charming downtown and bring hundreds of new residents and high-wage jobs to northern Lake County.

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A planned community in southern Orange County called Lake Nona is a good example of what this area could look like. It has homes, apartments, businesses, and big employers like the UCF College of Medicine and a hospital for kids called Nemours. The area around Lake Nona used to be mostly open fields with a few residential areas.

After State Road 429 was built in the area, the area grew a lot. Crissy Stile, the mayor of Mount Dora, said that the Innovation District is interesting and exciting because it is a blank sale. For the businesses and commercial areas, we get to put the pieces together.

But the area was planned before the global COVID pandemic changed how many people work, which often means that employees work as much, or even more, from home than they do from their office. As for what to build, officials say that having the ability to change the mix of what’s built in the Innovation District as well as the low cost of living in Lake will help the area.

It’s Mount Dora’s economic development coordinator, Misty Sommer, who says, “We get a lot of questions about it.” Officials say the area will become a commercial hot spot in the next few years. “The market is residential right now,” the woman told the story to the paper.

One sign that things are finally getting going is the sale of 550 acres of land along State Road 46 in Sorrento. This is the first move inside the Innovation District boundaries since Mount Dora and Lake County formed the joint planning district in 2019. Talk about it started in 2004, and it’s been talked about for a long time now

Some of the things that have changed in and around the neighborhood:
DR. Horton’s Timberwalk community on Round Lake, between State Road 46 and Wolf Branch Road, is growing up around Round Lake Charter School, which is on the hillside. More than 367 homes will be built on 170 acres in phase one of the subdivision. People have already moved into the first phase.

People on the Lake County Commission split up on April 5 and approved the construction of 266 new homes on an area of land where cattle now graze. It is less than a mile south of State Road 46. Leslie Campione and Sean Parks, two commissioners, raised concerns about how to get to the businesses in the Innovation District, which will be behind the new subdivision. They voted against the community.

A company called Richland Communities bought 550 acres of land near the State Road 453 and Wekiva Parkway exit in 2021. Richland, which is based in California, could build 2,560 multifamily units, 2.36 million square feet of industrial space, about 520,000 square feet of commercial space, and 3.6 million square feet of “employment space,” which could be used for things like research, education, clinical health care, and professional services, GrowthSpotter reports.

The deal was first reported in February. A lot of the land could also be used for classrooms at Lake Sumter State College, too. Route 46 Properties of Lake Mary has been given the go-ahead to build more than 320 apartments and more than 55,000 square feet of commercial space at State Road 46 and Niles Road in Lake Mary.

The city of Mount Dora says that when the 32 acres are built, they will become part of the city. A new road, State Road 429, or the Wekiva Parkway, has been built from Apopka to I-4 in Sanford, which will make a loop around Orlando when it’s done. After 15 years, State Road 453, which is a spur of the parkway, was opened in 2018.

For more information like this do visit lakecountyfloridanews.com


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