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Westside Capital Group has applied to rezone a vacant 3.7-acre parcel on Winter Haven’s South Lake Howard Drive for high-density residential in order to expand the apartment community next door.

The London-based firm’s Miami office purchased the 23-year-old apartment building, Westside Lakeshore, last summer for $4.35 million. At the same time, Westside acquired the adjacent vacant lot for just $105,000.

The five-story building has 50 apartments with a pool, tennis court, gated access and boat slips on Lake Howard.

Now the investment group, headed by Jakub Hejl, wants to expand the community by adding another 130 apartments, according to the application. The change in zoning would increase the density by 112 units.

The case originally went to the city’s Planning Commission on March 6 but no one from Westside attended the hearing. One neighbor spoke against the project, expressing concerns that high-density housing would bring crime and traffic to the neighborhood.

After a second hearing on April 3, the Planning Commission unanimously approved the rezoning, which now goes to the City Council.

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