‘It would look absolutely horrible:’ Neighbors fight $1B Orlando development

Developer planning RoseArts district in the Rosemont community

ORLANDO, Fla. – Plans are moving forward with a controversial new development in the Rosemont community of Orlando.

The RoseArts District will bring thousands of new apartments and retail space to 128 acres of the now-abandoned Lake Orlando Golf Club.

“The view was beautiful,” Richard Stiskin said. “It still is pretty.”

Stiskin showed News 6 the backyard view he’s had since 1996. Now just green space, it used to be the 14th tee box before the golf course closed nearly a decade ago.

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“Imagine a 10-story building on this property,” he said. “It would look absolutely horrible.”

The $1 billion RoseArts District promises to revitalize the once-prominent neighborhood and bring it back to life with 5,600 apartments and 350,000 square feet of commercial space.

“I’m not in favor of it because the area needs to be cleaned up,” Stiskin said. “RoseArts says all the negatives around us will disappear once they have something pretty here. We definitely feel the other way around.”

Stiskin said the negatives center around some of the existing apartments in the neighborhood. He says they’re in bad shape, have had problems with mold, and they’re plagued with crime.

“To have that across the street from the Taj Mahal, so to speak, is a very negative thought,” he said. “Their reason for buying this property and telling people all this will change because of this growth is just not the truth.”

Neighbors are also concerned the development will increase traffic, especially along Lake Orlando Parkway.

“The way it is right, it can’t handle any more cars,” Steve Cassano said.

Cassano has lived in his Rosemont home for 13 years. He says drivers fly by his house every day, ignoring the 25-mph speed limit.

“Come out here at 4,” he said. “You’ll see a line of speed demons. Back and forth, back and forth.”

Stiskin said he’s had to replace his mailbox so many times, he now keeps track by putting a sticker on the back of them. He’s on his seventh one.

“The city knows all about it and they’ve done nothing,” he said. “The last time was last January. Police did a good job finding the person who was guilty, but it’s excessive speeding. There’s also a tree I didn’t show in the front yard that a Camaro hit at 70 mph running away from the police.”

Neighbors say this area is also flood-prone, something they experienced during Hurricane Ian last year.

“We had a catfish swimming in my neighbor’s driveway,” Cassano said.

He believes the RoseArts development will make the flooding situation worse.

Despite the present issues, the developer believes the project will boost property values in Rosemont.

“My value has gone up without the apartments,” Cassano said. “Is my value going to go up more when the apartments come? I seriously doubt it.”

The developer says they’re finalizing the design and engineering for the first phase of the project, and they look forward to sharing details on the groundbreaking in the future.

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About the Author:

Justin Warmoth joined News 6 in 2013 and is now a morning news anchor.