Sports-themed Olympus community coming to Clermont
CLERMONT – A massive community themed on sports and fitness will be the first development to sprout from south Lake County’s Wellness Way, bringing with it more than 6,000 jobs and boosting the area’s economy by $1.4 billion over the course of the next 10 years, the developer says.
Officials are calling the 250-acre project ‘one of a kind,’ explaining that it will include multi-sport indoor and outdoor training and competition venues, leading-edge wellness, health and fitness facilities and a village featuring world-class sports-themed hotels, restaurants, conference space, shops, entertainment venues, residential neighborhoods and apartment villas.
Michael Carroll, the founder and president of American Eagle Associates, Inc., a marketing and licensing firm, says the project will live up to its marketing motto, “Epic. Every day.”
“That’s our brand essence, and we are adamant about finding ways we can deliver on being epic everyday,” said Carroll. “We designed the entire place to work in synergy with a sports-related mindset, but it’s the sports, combined with fitness and health, that makes it unique.”
According to Clermont officials, the project has been in the works for nearly four years and is now beginning to make its way through the city and state approval process.
Carroll expects to break ground on Olympus in the first quarter of 2019 and have parts of it up and running by 2020 once the land is purchased and approved by Clermont officials in December as anticipated.
“I’ve been excited about his project for almost four years, but now as we’re getting closer and closer, we have to stay extremely focused and keep our eye on the ball,” said Carroll. “The amount of support we’ve received from Clermont and from Lake County has been impressive.”
Once approved, Olympus will become the very first project to be located in the Wellness Way Area Plan – 15,471 acres in southeast Lake County south of State Road 50 and east of U.S. Highway 27 – recognized for many years as an area prime for economic development.
The project is seeking annexation into the City of Clermont, which has the utility rights for the property.
County Commissioner Sean Parks, who is playing a key role in shepherding Carroll through the process, said the match was a good fit from the beginning.
“I heard what he (Carroll) wanted to do and I was excited. I thought it was very much in line with what we wanted Wellness Way to be,” Parks said. “Olympus seemed to focus on health and wellness in the sports tourism industries and I was very intrigued by the overall economic impact.”
Parks said he sensed a “wow factor” in the project and thought it fit right in with the Wellness Way vision.
“I knew it was potentially a game changer for Lake County and our region. It will change the focus from being a residential-based economy to a more diverse economy,” Parks said. “I think it puts us on the map nationally and internationally and will improve property values for all of Lake County, plus I think it is a catalyst for the right kind of growth that we want. I think it will catalyze the health and wellness industry that we desire.”
“It’s one of a kind. This will be a very big deal. We are containing our enthusiasm but it’ll soon be uncorked,” Parks said.
Clermont City Manager Darren Gray also said he thinks the project fits right in with Clermont’s “Choice of Champions” brand.
“When we put our brand in, we knew that at some point, there was going to be a project that really met our brand, the Choice of Champions, and this project totally defines who we are,” Gray said. “We’re a health, wellness, fitness community. We’ve been doing triathlons for over 30 years, we have the National Training Center here, we have Brandy’s Gymnastics, we have Olympic athletes from all over the world who train here. So to have a development or a project that comes in of this magnitude, it just really shows you the commitment level and really, the leadership level of the City of Clermont and how we partner well with the private entities as well.”
Carroll has a pedigree in world-class athletics.
His marketing company developed programs for several Olympics, the PGA Tour, European Tour and Ryder Cup and other global brands.
He said when they were searching for the perfect fit for Olympus, Clermont’s brand and the community feel of the area, became very important to them.
“We were drawn to the area because we found hills in Florida but what we felt immediately that the city had the right brand and a community feel, which is what we were looking for,” Carroll said. “We wanted a place we could integrate into and with Orlando just next door and being an international destination, everything just pointed to this as the perfect location.”
Carroll said the Olympus neighborhood will connect to its neighboring communities by way of 4 miles of public fitness trails designed to welcome people right into its town center. There, visitors will find sports and entertainment zones.
In all, the project will incorporate 713,713 square feet of office space, 231,304 square feet of retail space, 129,055 square feet of restaurants, 248,468 square feet of sports facilities and a hotel with 1,312 guest rooms.
The project will be split into subsections to include a northeast region with an international tennis center, an aquatics center and sports performance facilities; a central region featuring the ‘Epic Center,’ a multipurpose arena, broadcast-ready venues, fitness and health clubs and a wellness spa; and a south west region which will house a village center at its heart with sports themed shops, restaurants, a hotel and entertainment venues.
Carroll said there will also be elements of European sports resorts.
Olympus will also have its own taxing district that will allow for it to be self-sustaining.
“To have a project like this come into our city that brings the sporting venues and the partnerships they’re wanting to do with the city is pretty amazing,” Gray said. “There’s no other project like this anywhere.”