Orlando business owners along I-Drive North pushing for redevelopment

ByGeraldine R. Pleasant

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Business owners are trying to redevelop International Drive (I-Drive) North and make it as nice as the south end by ICON Park.

Along I-Drive North it’s out with the old and in with the new. This week PXG opened their upscale golf store. In other developments, business owner Micah Bass says he is going through permitting to build a new upscale apartment complex, as well as a food hall with 14 different restaurants.

“The North end was built 50 years ago,” he said. “Right now, they’re in the process of demolishing the 1960s building, which was a three-story hotel.”

 But along I-Drive North even with new business, it’s old and outdated. 

“You’re gonna have to give people an incentive and buy up some of these properties,” said business owner Joshua Wallack who also sits on the  I-Drive Advisory Board

I-Drive North is considered everything from Carrier Drive all the way to W. Oak Ridge Road. While I-Drive South falls under Orange County, I-Drive North is run by the City of Orlando.  Business owners presented ideas for bigger development to City Commissioner Bakari Burns. They want zoning changes and incentives to attract developers and update North I-Drive. 

Wallack added, “Their code is completely antiquated, and it doesn’t incentivize people from New York, Miami, and LA to come up here and buy up these properties and redevelop them.” 

A city of Orlando spokesperson says they updated the I-Drive North re-zoning a few years ago, for residential and retail that allows for bigger and more modern development, but business owners say it’s outdated. 

I-Drive Business Improvement District Director Luanne Brooks said more people want to live, work and stay along all of I-Drive. “An explosion of apartments taking place here, hotel rooms, restaurants, retail.” 

Bass said it’s time for I-Drive North to modernize. “Business is exploding, it’s fantastic.”