Crop of New Businesses Growing Across Apopka

APOPKA, Fla. – Drive down Bradshaw Road to see the crop of new businesses growing across Apopka.

Clusters of multi-colored brick buildings are under construction on both sides of the corridor – part of several commerce parks that Apopka-based Michael R. Cooper Construction has transformed from distressed properties to create an economic engine for new businesses and jobs.

The biggest is a two-story, 101,000-square-foot Cooper Palms Sports Complex that is expected to open in July. Just down the road, Cooper has constructed a 10,000-square-foot building to become the future home of the Be-Bread bakery. Gettysburg Construction Management is moving into another, 7,500-square-foot building, and World Class Installations –a security technology company – is taking a similar sized building. Yet another building of about 5,000 square feet is available.

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The sports complex also will help to provide recreational activities for kids and families. The facility features 31,000 square feet of indoor space for basketball, volleyball and multi-purpose courts. About 12,000 square feet is dedicated to two indoor trampoline parks, and a café will take another 5,000 square feet of space.  “What he has done for Apopka on his own – with no help from the city – has lifted the veil on this blighted area,” said Apopka City Commissioner Billie Dean. “He is bringing in jobs and clean industry.”

 

Apopka-based My Gym Adventure is relocating to a 12,000-square-foot area in the complex, which also will have space for karate and exercise rooms as well as child care.

Ivan Pezzoli, co-owner of the Be-Bread bakery, looks to open the business in May with its brand of naturally gluten-free cheese rolls. The products could be ready to deliver to grocery stores and other outlets by July. The facility in Apopka will bake the rolls and quickly freeze them for packaging.

Pezzoli, whose family and business partners operate various companies in Brazil, said that Apopka is an ideal location with direct access to major highways for distribution throughout Florida.

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Apopka is traversed by the 25-mile, $1.6 billion Wekiva Parkway – a massive project that begins construction in the summer 2015. Apopka is already directly linked to Florida’s Turnpike and the Interstate 75 corridor via existing stretches of State Road 429. The 2021 completion of the Wekiva Parkway will directly link Apopka to the Interstate 4/Interstate 95 corridor.“This is a very good area in so many ways,” Pezzoli explained. “The roads can get you very quickly to places like Miami and Tampa.”

The expanding road network will prepare Apopka for future growth. Florida Hospital Apopka also is getting ready for growth with a new, seven-story, 600,000-square foot hospital and a 200,000-square-foot medical office building proposed for more than 70 acres south of Harmon Road and east of State Road 429. A ground “making” ceremony for the 200-bed facility is scheduled for March 31. The first phase of that project will include 400,000 square feet of hospital space, 80,000 square feet of medical offices and a helipad.

 The City of Apopka initiated a small-area study last year to better plan for new construction that is expected for 4.4 square miles of land around the hospital. A moratorium approved last month will provide time for the city to set specific guidelines for development of a large town center with a mix of professional, commercial, recreational and residential land uses.

The moratorium extends through October.

On the east side of Apopka, Woolbright Development is expanding the Wekiva Riverwalk shopping center for several new businesses on S.R. 436. A 6,500-square foot building is under construction and is expected to be completed by June 1st. Tenants will include a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt shop, uBreakiFix electronics repair store, Sports Clips Haircuts, a Wireless Zone cellular store and a 1,430-square-foot restaurant. Woolbright is close to signing other tenants for another 8,000-square-foot building on site.

Sam’s Club is under construction at the southwest corner of U.S. Highway 441 and North Hiawassee Road. The 137,000-square-foot membership warehouse store is expected to open in August.

Verizon Wireless opened recently in a 2,380-square-foot building at 1380 U.S. 441 in west Apopka. A 2,171-square-foot Taco Bell will open soon across the road.

Ladybird Academy – a 13,000-square-foot preschool learning center – is under construction at 1151 Rock Springs Road in Apopka. A new Circle K convenience store is planned at 481 E. Keene Road.

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Residential developments also are growing in Apopka. They include:

  • Chandler Estates – 162 homes west of Plymouth Sorrento Road.
  • Oak Ridge phases 1 and 2 – 226 homes on Plymouth Sorrento Road.
  • Rock Springs Ridge phase 7 – 149 homes west of Rock Springs Road.
  • Clear Lake Landing – 142 homes west of Binion Road.
  • Lester Ridge – 102 homes west of Vick Road.
  • Meadows at Maudehelen phases 3 and 4: 63 homes east of Binion Road.
  • Ponkan Reserve North – 51 homes on Ponkan Road.
  • Lake Doe Reserve – 52 homes east of Binion Road.

Future development also is planned for the 562-acre Kelly Park Crossing commercial and residential project proposed at the future Wekiva Parkway and Kelly Park Road.

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