A pair of developers plan to bring new life to a nearly century-old building near Orlando's Baldwin Park community.
Co-developers Luke Wickham — senior vice president in Orlando's CBRE Inc. (NYSE: CBRE) office — and Adam Wonus — owner of Lake Mary-based Atrium Management Co. — plan to open the renovated Fort Pitt at 5565 Old Cheney Highway in early 2020, Wickham told Orlando Business Journal. The structure, built in 1923, soon will house a new Latin restaurant dubbed Chinchorro 75 along with a coffee concept.
In addition, the developers plan to build 10 townhomes next to the renovated space. Roughly $3 million will be invested in the project. "It's an area nobody's talking about," Wickham said. "This neighborhood's going to pop."
Currently, Orlando vegan food truck V's Diner operates at the Fort Pitt site in the back patio. That area behind Fort Pitt is expected to become more active in the coming months, hosting outdoor movies, food truck events and more, Wickham said.
Meanwhile, construction approvals are being sought for the townhome development project. Across the street, Nick Jones — managing member of Orlando-based Red Bell Partners LLC — plans to build about a dozen townhomes. In addition, Orlando developer Mark Kinchla is working on several residential projects nearby.
Wickham said he'd noticed the neighborhood changing in recent years with more investment in new homes — and he saw opportunity in the lack of retail for the neighborhood. He said he drew inspiration for the project from A La Carte, a food vendor site near the Milk District.
Wickham and Wonus's 5565 Old Cheney LLC acquired the roughly 1.1-acre property for $610,000 in February. Frometa Wilmer Sr. was the seller. The property had sat on the market for years. In the 1920s, Sam Turrisi, a World War I veteran, built the property and named it after his hometown, Pittsburgh. It served travelers along Cheney Highway, a brick road that stretched to Florida's east coast.
The Fort Pitt project likely will find success due to its proximity to downtown, Baldwin Park, East End Market and more, said Trevor Hall Jr., executive managing director with Colliers International Central Florida, who is not involved in the project. In addition, people often want to live near retail and entertainment. "There are great redevelopment opportunities there," Hall said of the neighborhood.