Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
9:46 pm EDT
Friday, September 18, 2020

Grand Endeavor

The developer envisions the 243-acre Olympus project as a multigenerational community and global destination.

Lauded as a city where many Olympic-bound athletes train, Clermont is now preparing to build on its “Choice of Champions” branding with a one-of-a-kind, master planned community. The Olympus project will feature multisport competition and training venues; leading-edge wellness, fitness, and sports medicine facilities; and a lakeside town center with restaurants, shops, hotels, and cultural and community events.

Residential townhomes and multifamily apartments, a trail system, and an outdoor amphitheater also are planned for the 243-acre complex, which is backed by public and private partners and supporters.

“We anticipate attracting local, national, and global attention because of its unique plans,” says Clermont City Manager Darren Gray. 

Olympus is scheduled to be built over the next several years in Lake County’s Wellness Way Area, east of U.S. Highway 27, about a half-mile north of the entrance to Lake Louisa State Park, and bordered by Schofield and Bradshaw roads—land that succumbed to citrus freezes and is no longer viable as a grove. 

Clermont was chosen from a global search for Olympus. 

“We did a pretty extensive property search. The goal and vision came first and then we found the location. It was a very good fit,” Mike Carroll, co-founder and chief operating officer of Olympus Sports and Entertainment Group, says of the topography of the site. “However, the community in Clermont was the most important criteria. It’s a great community and that is why we are excited to bring something so different and so big to the city.” 

The Olympus project was unanimously approved by the Clermont City Council on May 14; city leaders also voted to annex the property into city limits at the same time.

“Clermont is very fortunate to have been chosen as the location for Olympus,” Clermont Mayor Gail Ash said at the May meeting. “We are thankful that they saw how special our city is, and they’ll make it even more special.”

Five years ago, the City Council voted on Clermont’s branding as “Choice of Champions,” and in 2015, the council approved a $30 million master plan to activate the downtown waterfront district, which has inspired private-sector investments.

Olympus is the next big thing. 

The development is projected to create more than 5,000 jobs and generate more than $1.4 billion in local economic impact during a 10-year period, according to a study by Henry Fishkind, of Fishkind & Associates in Orlando.

Clermont’s city manager summed up the thrill for Olympus in one word: “Epic.”

“Olympus aligns perfectly with our ‘Choice of Champions’ brand and our reputation as a world-class haven for athletes. It will create thousands of jobs and be an impactful economic stimulus for the area,” Darren says. “The city is thrilled to partner with Olympus to bring the next level of sports and medical facilities to Clermont.” 

The Olympus project is slated to spearhead the Wellness Way Area, noted as a growth and innovation corridor consisting of 15,000-plus acres in close proximity to Orange County’s Horizon West and the western entrance of Walt Disney World.

“One of our goals is to create a multigenerational community, a global destination,” Mike says of Olympus. “We have combined very interesting elements into one place, from sports to health and wellness to residential to a community town center.”

He touts Olympus as innovative “and the only one of its kind that I am aware of,” though he believes some elements of the project may be found at sports resorts in Europe. 

The master plan for Olympus, crafted by some of Florida’s top planners and engineers, calls for a synergistic array of development zones, including: 

  • Multisport competition and training venues for collegiate, professional, and elite athletes; featuring sports celebrities, legendary coaches, and global sports brands/properties. 
  • Leading-edge wellness, fitness, and sports medicine facilities for athletes, individuals, families, businesses. 
  • Public fitness trails, state-of-the-art fitness and health club, healthy living/destination spa; and renowned orthopedic physicians and groups. 
  • World-class hospitality, dining, shopping, and office/conference venues for visitors, businesses, and residents. 
  • Top restaurant brands, unique retail brands, and leading hotel and resort brands. 

Olympus Senior Planner and Development Director G. Brian Wheeler brings nearly 40 years of experience in environmental design, planning, and mixed-use development to the project. 

“The Olympus plan integrates environmental stewardship, civic spaces, unique geography, and world-class facilities,” Brian says in a press release. “It is all about creating experiences that are unique and unforgettable. I am thrilled to be working with the amazing Olympus team on this inspiring project for Central Florida.” 

Mike echoed those sentiments. 

“We get excited to accomplish each development,” Mike says of each phase of the Olympus process. “I can see it completed. I envision residents and guests being able to enrich their lives with a very comprehensive array of health, wellness, sports, and entertainment facilities and programs.” 

He calls Olympus “a great complement” to the National Training Center, the site at the South Lake Hospital complex in Clermont where many Olympic athletes train.

“The National Training Center is incredible just as it is. I think we can only enhance what they’ve built,” he says. 

Athletes who trained in Clermont won 10 medals at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, according to the city’s website. 

“Clermont and South Lake County are nationally known as a warm-weather training destination,” says Kim Couch, National Training Center director. “We have enjoyed working with the Olympus team as they have been planning the campus and look forward to seeing continued growth of sports and wellness initiatives in South Lake County.”

 Officials are pleased by the public support for Olympus.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive so that is very exciting for us to hear that kind of feedback,” Mike says. 

“There’s a lot of excitement from residents looking forward to exploring the recreational opportunities there, as well as from local business owners and developers looking to get involved with the project,” Darren adds. “The amount of jobs this will create for the area is also generating excitement from those looking to work in Clermont.”

The next phase for Olympus is architectural design, site work, and possible groundbreaking in 2020, all steps toward an estimated completion around 2025.