Large Mixed Use Project in Osceola County Moving Forward; April 28, 2021

New mixed-use districts in Osceola are being planned for 14,000-plus homes

APR 23, 2021 AT 4:39 PM

Osceola County is wrapping up the master planning effort for its two final mixed-use districts. District 5 abuts the South Lake Toho element, which have already been approved. The 365-acre Yates assemblage, circled in white, could be added to the final plan. (Rj Whidden and Associates).  Jim Hall of HDSi represents the largest land owner in the study with over 5,000 acres.

Osceola County is in the final stretch of a two-year planning effort that will determine how large swaths of rural land south of St. Cloud develop over the next decade as the region’s population growth continues at its torrid pace.

The county engaged planning firm RJ Whidden in 2019 to create the Conceptual Master Plan (CMP) for the Mixed-Use Districts 5 and 6, the final two districts in the county’s urban service area. The 8,517-acre study area stretches from the Florida’s Turnpike east along the Alligator Chain of Lakes to U.S. 192 at Old Melbourne Highway.

After a series of online information meetings led by Assistant Community Development Administrator Susan Caswell, the county will host a series of three hourlong in-person open house sessions Tuesday evening, April 27, at the St. Cloud Marina banquet hall beginning at 6 pm to get feedback on the initial draft CMP, which calls for 14,010 residential units in compact, walkable neighborhoods.

“What I mean about walkable is not that they have a sidewalk,” Caswell said. “They need more than that. Basically, they’re designed in a way that you can walk to places.”

Kindred, Tohoqua and Edgewater are three communities in various stages of development within the East of Toho Mixed-Use District. Tavistock Development Group is implementing the county’s Northeast District Element to become its new Sunbridge community.

“These places are interesting. And you know, that’s just a straightforward quality of life issue,” Caswell said. “They function well. They have a mix of uses, they have places to gather. They have nice residential services that serve residential at different scales.”

Some projects within Districts 5 and 6, such as Ameratrail, Lake Gentry Landings and Pine Grove already have approved mixed-use concept plans. Those have already been incorporated into the draft CMP. But adopting a CMP doesn’t necessarily mean the areas will develop any sooner. The Lake Gentry Landings Concept Plan was approved in 2014.

And the massive Green Island Ranch property makes up a large portion of the county’s South Lake Toho Element. It has had entitlements for up to 17,000 residential units since the CMP was adopted in 2009.

“What’s important to understand is this is not a development program. This is a long-term plan,” Caswell said. “We’re not dictating when this area develops. We’re dictating how it develops, so that when that happens, which is more based on market forces than anything we do, it will happen according to the rules we set in place.”

The properties marked blue are already in the mixed use district. The parcels marked yellow currently have Low Density Residential future land use, but they could be added to the district when the conceptual master plan is adopted. (Osceola County)

Some landowners on the western edge of District 5, adjacent to the Green Island Ranch, have inquired about having their property added to the CMP.  KPM Franklin’s Murry Bullion represents a local land developer who is under contract for about 365 acres at Canoe Creek Road and Fannie Bass Road.

Several of the parcels in the assemblage are already in the MXD, but the largest parcel, owned by Henry C. Yates, currently has Low Density Residential future land use. It’s just east of the proposed interchange between the Turnpike and future SouthShore Expressway toll road, which calls for a more intense, urban development pattern.

This map shows the proximity of the Yates assemblage to the future turnpike interchange and urban center and future industrial park in the South Lake Toho CMP. (Osceola County)

Bullion told the DRC the buyers want to seek mixed-use future land use and zoning to build a community with up to 1,000 homes.

Bullion told GrowthSpotter they initially looked at doing 3,000 dwelling units but realized that density would be unrealistic, given the amount of floodplains and wetlands on the site. The portions of the site that were included in the study area reserve large amounts for conservation. He said he plans to attend the open house Tuesday and will schedule follow-up meetings with county staff regarding how to incorporate the Yates property in the plan.

The CMP creates a framework for future road networks, including future phases of the Northeast Connector toll road, which would extend from the turnpike north to Nova Road. The Central Florida Expressway Authority is currently conducting a Project Development and Environment study (PD&E) for the NE Connector segment from Nova Road north into Sunbridge.

Caswell said the CMP also would create public parks and nature preserves along the Alligator Chain of Lakes and its canals.

The draft CMP shows a few potential sites for urban centers, but it doesn’t include calculations for future multifamily residential housing, offices or other commercial spaces. Those numbers will be added later, after the public workshops.


HDSi leads development in Kelly Park in north Apopka; March 24, 2021

D.R. Horton signs onto planned subdivisions in Apopka

D.R. Horton and Mattamy Homes are looking to introduce more than 400 single-family homes and townhomes in Apopka.
D.R. Horton is looking to introduce more than 400 single-family homes and townhomes in Apopka. (City of Apopka)

Records show D.R. Horton has entered into an agreement with property owner Orlando Beltway Associates to purchase and develop 56 acres of land within Apopka’s Kelly Park Interchange Mixed-Use District — a zoning overlay created by city officials to help drive future development and economic activity to the once sparsely developed region.

Orlando Beltway Associates is creating a 202-lot subdivision directly south of D.R. Horton’s Bridle Path single-family home community. The recently submitted subdivision plan shows the community will connect to Bridle Path and feature 125 single-family homes and 77 townhomes by D.R. Horton. Jim Hall of HDSi led the concept planning and entitlement of both projects as well as assisting in amending the City’s Form Based Code.  The subdivision plan shows a clubhouse with a pool. VHB is the project engineer.

The proposed subdivision features 125 single-family homes and 77 townhomes by D.R. Horton, and connects to Bridle Path up north.
The proposed subdivision features 125 single-family homes and 77 townhomes by D.R. Horton, and connects to Bridle Path up north. (City of Apopka)

The BurnBrae Companies, a real estate company headquartered in Washington, D.C. and a long time HDSi client, planned the 150-lot Bridle Path residential subdivision to the north. Last year, Forestar Real Estate Group, a land developer and holding company for D.R. Horton, paid $4.18 million for the project.

In 2018, Orlando Beltway Associates sold about 51 acres across from its subdivision to Orlando Health’s new medical campus; also a Jim Hall led project. The property at 5401 Effie Dr. sold for about $2.34 million.  Before the closing, the hospital announced it envisioned building a medical campus that would serve communities in both Apopka and Mt. Dora at the location. No construction plans have been filed yet.

HDSi leads Downtown Windermere redevelopment; February 16,2021

Developer Jim Karr and Westgate’s Jim Gissy ignite plans for commercial development in downtown Windermere

The 2.2-acre lot sits across from a new 11,000-square-foot municipal town complex under construction.
The 2.2-acre lot sits across from a new 11,000-square-foot municipal town complex under construction. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

Downtown Windermere may be getting more commercial space.

Veteran developer Jim Karr and business partner Jim Gissy, executive vice president of Westgate Resorts, working with Jim Hall of HDSi, are pushing forward a development plan that would essentially triple the amount of commercial space they own along Main Street.

The property, located on at main entrance into Windermere’s town center, currently contains two single-family homes, the office of Keene’s Pointe Realty and Allen’s Creamery & Coffee House, Elysium Interiors and a hair salon.

Town planner Wade Trim received preliminary development plans and an application to rezone the property from the partners last month. The plans go before Windermere’s Development Review Board Feb. 16. From there, plans are scheduled to go before the Town Council in March for a first public hearing.

Karr and Gissy are seeking to demolish the existing structures and develop up to 21,850 square feet of commercial space. Conceptual plans breaks down the development to 6,600 square feet of office space, 11,500 of retail space and 3,750 square feet of restaurant space.

Karr told GrowthSpotter he and Gissy plan to hold onto the properties for the long-term and fill up the space with local businesses that can help serve the Town of Windermere.

At least one property within the assemblage has been in Karr’s family since 1989. Before moving to a home on the west side of Lake Butler, Karr spent most of his life living in Windermere.

“It’s where my mom and brother live,” he said. “It’s changed a lot. There just hasn’t been much development.”

The town hosts weekly farmers’ markets and, prior to the pandemic, monthly food truck events. It’s a growing small town, but it has not added more space for new businesses, Karr said.

To move forward project would have to stay consistent with the requirements of the Town Center Overlay District and provide appropriate access, away from the neighboring residential properties. Town staff members have also discussed preserving Heritage Oak trees and a 20-foot buffer and masonry wall along Oakdale Street to separate the development from neighboring homes.

Most of the properties were acquired by Karr and Gissy in 2009 for $500,000, records show. According to an article by the West Orange Times & Observer, former owner Kevin Azzouz of Kosta Holdings tried and failed to approve a proposed 63,000-square-foot development called Main Street Shoppes.

Across the street from the property, the Town of Windermere is currently building a new 11,000-square-foot municipal town complex that will hold its town administration building offices, police facilities and public works department.

Karr is a local real estate developer and major landowner throughout Central Florida. He and HDSi are working with Lennar Homes which plans to build nearly 2,000 homes on property he owns in Clermont for a master-planned community called Wellness Way, near Disney.

Apart from his role in Westgate, Gissy is also an early investor of First Green Bank. He and Karr often work together in real estate deals.

HDSi leads a major new convention hotel design; January 7, 2021

Skorman Construction preps land near SeaWorld for dense hotel and retail development

The proposed hotel development is being planned on a 6.5-acre site along Westwood Boulevard, next to a recently completed Tru by Hilton hotel.
The proposed hotel development is being planned on a 6.5-acre site along Westwood Boulevard, next to a recently completed Tru by Hilton hotel. (Orange County)

Skorman bought the property in 2017 as part of a larger 11-acre assemblage that included an adjacent 4.5-acre site — now a 259-room Tru by Hilton hotel developed by Miami-based Epelboim Development Group and completed in September.  Noel Epelboim, president and CEO of Epelboim Development Group, told GrowthSpotter he had been working closely with the development team to clear an access easement through the middle of the parcels and add some cross access easement between the three lots.

Skorman buys Westwood Blvd land for Tru hotel partner & future development

The proposed DP for the project next door shows a hotel, up to 35 stories tall, with 1,000 hotel rooms and a multilevel parking garage along I-4. Additionally, plans include up to 4,900 square feet of retail space across two separate pads and two restaurant locations: one large with the capacity for 420 seats and a smaller restaurant with 180 seats.

Conceptual plans show the proposed hotel could feature up to 35 floors, though the Development Plan only features 28.
Conceptual plans show the proposed hotel could feature up to 35 floors, though the Development Plan only features 28. (Orange County)

Kimley-Horn & Associates is the civil engineer and Atlanta-based Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates, Inc. is the architect.  HDSi’s associated landscape architectural team of Libra Design Group is providing landscape design and hardscape.

The property falls within the I-Drive District overlay area, meaning the developer must adhere to specific standards that were adopted in 2017 as a means to spur more urbanized and pedestrian-friendly developments.

Paul Sexton, vice president of HREC Investment Advisors, said he’s seeing a transition of new hotel development moving to areas where Skorman’s properties are located — just outside of the core center of Orlando’s tourism corridor, but close enough to its giant theme parks and the Orange County Convention Center.

He adds hotel brands like Marriott and Hilton are seldom built in the core because of a lack of land. Hotel brands are looking for space to build, and proximity to other hotel brands because that’s what guests like to see, he said.

HDSi gains approval for another Apopka Kelly Park neighborhood; October 21, 2020

After three years of work and negotiation with the City and the School Board, Apopka approved a 202 home neighborhood last night.  It is the third project in the Kelly Park area for Jim Hall; two residential neighborhoods as well as a hospital.  Kelly Park surrounds the Kelly Park Road/SR 429 interchange.  Challenges have included utility funding, revising the City’s Form Based Code and being the first applicant in a large mixed use area scheduled for over 10,000,000 square feet of non-residential uses and thousands of homes and apartments.  HDSi represented the land owner and worked closely with the developer of the first neighborhood; DR Horton.  The neighborhoods were designed in tandem with shared streets, trails and upland preserves.

Talmadge Gardens in Deland, Florida is the next HDSi community; October 1, 2020

500 acres located on International Speedway Boulevard in Deland is the latest design project for HDSi.  Primarily a residential community located across from the high school, the housing types range from townhomes and narrow lots  on up to estate homes on Lake Talmadge.  The neighborhood design emphasizes a walkable community with access to the school and a commercial center.  A grid street pattern evolves into a more classic suburban street pattern near the lake and the estate homes.

HDSi leads approval of O Town West; $1 Billion new mixed use center; June 15, 2020

Zoning approval led by HDSi was granted to Unicorp Development for this massive mixed use center in Orange County, Florida 1 mile north of the Disney World entrance.  The I-4 frontage parcels are anchored by the new Marriott timeshare international headquarters in a 25 story building.  There is also entertainment and hotel adjacent to the headquarters building.  Other uses include dense residential towers and retail related to the tourists.  Farther west is a lower density residential community anchored by a Publix shopping center.  There is a high school to be developed between the two phases and there is also an adjacent middle school.  The new interchange with I-4 to be developed by 2022 makes this mixed use center a dynamic new opportunity.

See the source image

Jim Hall helps mentor UCF students in real estate development; April 21, 2020

We were proud to watch our team of University of Central Florida real estate students present their vision for redevelopment of Orlando’s Fashion Square mall property last week during the UCF Case Competition, sponsored by NAIOP Central Florida Chapter. Dubbed “City Beautiful Development” students Ryan Griffith, Kyle Ruperto, CAPM, LEED GA, Matt Santangelo and Norven Erazo cooked up a highly creative and dense urban infill redevelopment concept (see site plan attached). They weren’t chosen as the winners, but it was fun to watch them grow during the semester. A big thanks to our fellow mentors on the team, which included Trevor Hall, Jr. of Colliers International, planner Jim Hall of HDSi, Darick Brokaw of Baker Barrios Architects, Billy Rodriguez and Colette Santana of JLL, Robert Luis Castillo of American Momentum Bank, and Drew Dawson of Tavistock Development Company.

(from LiknkedIn)

COVID causes havoc with development processing; March 24, 2020

Orange County cancels upcoming zoning meetings until further notice

A site plan for the O-Town West mixed-use development in Orange County. The project is one of several cases on hold to seek P&Z approvals.
A site plan for the O-Town West mixed-use development in Orange County. The project is one of several cases on hold to seek P&Z approvals.(Unicorp National Developments)

Orange County just confirmed it will be cancelling the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting until further notice.

Late last week, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings cancelled all advisory committee or board meetings for a minimum of 30 days. That pushed this month’s P&Z meeting to April 16, but that meeting was just cancelled.

Orange County spokesperson Despina McLaughlin told GrowthSpotter the county is in the process of scheduling a special PZC hearing, but there are no dates for any cases at this time.

The decision comes amid concerns about public gatherings as the spread of coronavirus keeps expanding in Florida. More than half of the state’s counties have at least one case and statewide totals continuing to climb.

As of Friday, the next Development Review Committee meeting date (April 22) is still on the book..

“However, given that two DRC meetings before have already been cancelled, it’s unknown whether or not we’ll be able catch up,” McLaughlin said. “This means that cases that were expected to be heard in April may actually get pushed back, too.”

Affected projects include Unicorp National Developments Inc.’s  (an HDSi client) massive O-Town West mixed-use development, which is slated to feature up to 1,500 residential units and a mix of retail, dining and office space.

Other major developments include Demetree Global’s Collegiate Village PD across from the University of Central Florida and Sun Terra Communities’ 530-acre Silverleaf mixed-use community in Horizon West.

“Developers may moan and groan, but it’s the right thing to do,” Jim Hall of Hall Development Services said.

Meanwhile, planners in Osceola County are telling developers to expect significant delays on rezoning applications due to the county’s inability to hold public hearings during the coronavirus pandemic.

The county also canceled Planning Commission meetings until further notice.

Housing Shortage in Orange County – Then why is it so hard to get a new project approved?; March 3, 2020

Orlando’s housing supply hit a record low this year, leaving a shortage of 6,500 homes

In January, there were just 7,030 homes on the market for sale, according to the most recent report from the Orlando Regional Realtors Association
In January, there were just 7,030 homes on the market for sale, according to the most recent report from the Orlando Regional Realtors Association (David Zalubowski/AP)

Orlando’s housing inventory hit a record low this year, signaling the continued turnaround from the Great Recession but also the tight squeeze on a region already dealing with a severe shortage of affordable homes.

In January, there were just 7,030 homes on the market for sale, according to the most recent report from the Orlando Regional Realtors Association, a 15% drop from the year prior and a nearly 60% decline since the end of the recession in 2009. While the shrinking supply is a reflection of the strong local economy — a stark contrast from the 25,000 homes for sale following the financial crisis — it leaves a shortfall of 6,595 homes and makes it all the more difficult for residents looking to buy a home.

“There’s a tremendous amount of new residents moving into Central Florida, and we’re not able to build houses fast enough, and that’s where we see that drop in numbers,” said Aldo Martin, owner of Bellavista Building Group in Maitland. “And that will probably go for a while until this migration into Florida flattens.”

The greatest shortfall is still among more affordable homes, with the median price of a home in Orlando hovering around $245,000, a nearly 8% increase since last year. Martin pointed to rising land values, competition for skilled labor and increasing material costs in explaining why it’s become less lucrative and more difficult for developers to build affordable homes.

The Orlando area is also ranked dead last among U.S. cities for affordable rental housing by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, with just 13 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households who need them.

ORRA reports that there’s only a little more than a two-month supply of single-family homes priced below $300,000, almost three months worth of those priced between $300,000 and $399,000. By contrast, there is a nearly 8½-month supply of homes priced above $700,000 and more than a 17-month supply of those going for more than $800,000. Generally, a six-month supply indicates a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

“There is demand, but we’re struggling to feed that demand. If the consumer could afford a $400,000 home … we can produce that today and make a profit. But that’s not where the buyers are. The buyers are $300,000 and below. I still have buyers that come in and all they can afford is in the high $100,000s,” Martin said.