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National homebuilder Taylor Morrison has purchased 30 percent of the approved lots in the gated Hawk’s Crest community, planned for the 270-acre former San Pedro Center property in south Seminole County.

Taylor Morrison paid $15.829 million on Oct. 13 to Meritage Homes, the community’s prime developer, for 229 lots on land once owned by the Catholic Diocese of Orlando. The purchase will give Taylor Morrison sole development rights on all 40-foot-wide lots in Hawk’s Crest, while Meritage will develop lots of 50 and 70 feet in width, as well as townhomes.

The Taylor Morrison lots are being cleared now and the first houses should be completed by mid-2018, vice president of land acquisition Brian Dalrymple told GrowthSpotter. Taylor Morrison anticipates investing $24 million in developing its portion of Hawk’s Crest, he added.

“We were grateful to have the opportunity to partner with Meritage,” Dalrymple said. “Meritage is a fantastic land developer and homebuilder. We have not (worked with Meritage) before but we talked to them a number of times about doing something and finally the opportunity came to do something together.”

Dalrymple anticipates the two companies will partner in the future on more projects in Florida and the Southeast region.

Hawk’s Crest consists of 270 acres on Howell Branch Road, between S.R. 436 and Dike Road. Developer and land-banking specialist Sun Terra Communities of Oviedo, with backing from private equity firm JEN Partners of New York, bought the land from the Catholic Diocese for $26.7 million in 2016. Meritage was named the exclusive homebuilder in May.

Sun Terra received county approval in December 2016 for a mixed-use Planned Development for up to 710 homes, a 125-bed assisted living facility and 50,000 square feet of retail. Later, Sun Terra submitted a Preliminary Site Plan without the assisted living component.

In July, Sun Terra sold the development to Meritage for $42.96 million. The sale occurred in three simultaneous transactions, with the townhomes and 40-foot parcels going directly to Meritage and the balance to a land banker for Meritage, said John Kraynick, principal at Sun Terra.

Sun Terra retained ownership of the 6.8 acres slated for retail, and is under contract to a commercial developer, Kraynick said.

“The deal is in due diligence and, assuming (the commercial developer) proceeds, he will be submitting a site plan to the county after the first of the year,” Kraynick said.

Site work is underway on Meritage’s lots and the company should have model homes ready by Third Quarter 2018, said senior land development manager Andon Calhoun.

The company is spending $3.5 million on the clubhouse/rec center including a pool and fitness room, he said. The development will also include a dog park.

Taylor Morrison is the general contractor on its part of the development and will use partner vendors for subcontracting, Dalrymple said. The civil engineer is Madden Moorhead & Stokes.

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