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One of the nation’s largest owners and developers of for-profit affordable housing has a 20-acre site near Poinciana Medical Center under contract for a proposed senior housing development.

Minneapolis-based Dominium is eyeing the site just across the county line from the Solivita retirement community for up to 500 apartments in two phases. The site is part of the former AV Homes Poinciana land portfolio currently being marketed by CBRE on behalf of new owner, Taylor Morrison Homes.

Dominium currently owns a dozen rental properties with over 3,000 units in Central Florida. It was the third largest developer of affordable housing in the nation last year, and this would be its first “new build” in Florida in several years.

“We have ample experience with very similar projects in Minnesota (Dominium’s home state), having completed and stabilized 26 of similar affordable housing new construction projects in the Twin Cities using similar methods, financing, and overall execution,” development associate Devon Quist said. “We are also building new affordable housing like this in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Tennessee, Georgia, and we hope to add Florida to that list soon.”

Quist said the company sees the Poinciana site as a demonstration project to prove that it can successfully build affordable multifamily housing without going after competitive Low Income Housing Tax Credits or other subsidies. He said they love the site, especially its proximity to the Poinciana Parkway.

The site is just north of the Solivita 55+ golf community.
The site is just north of the Solivita 55+ golf community.

“We’re not build-it and flip-it kind of owners,” Quist said. “We don’t go after the 9-percent credit. We use the noncompetitive 4-percent credit and other noncompetitive financing sources.”

Dominium has engaged Bessolo Design Group as the project architect. Founder Kevin Bessolo specializes in assisted living and other types of senior housing.

Quist and Bessolo met Wednesday with Osceola County’s planning staff to discuss the potential for increasing the approved density and height on the site, which is entitled for 350 multifamily units.

It’s part of a Planned Development that also includes a 2-story height limit. Bessolo said Dominium envisions a mix of three-story and four-story buildings. The Tuscan Isle active adult and assisted living facility is next door, and it’s four stories.

Still, Long Range Planner Corinne Carpenter told him the increase in height and density would likely require a major PD amendment. Bessolo said the developer also wants to revise the PD to change the minimum size of a one-bedroom apartment to 700 square feet, a reduction of 100 square feet.

“For the senior apartments we’re hoping to provide, it would add an unnecessary cost for an affordable housing product,” Quist said.

The company won’t be scrimping on the finishes or amenities, he said. “When you drive by the community a few years from now, it will blend in with the rest of Poinciana. Our senior apartment communities, such as this one, typically have a two-story entrance, clubroom, theatre room, card and craft room, fitness center, salon, outdoor pavilion or courtyard, pool, grilling areas, as well as ample placemaking and non-programmed spaces for human interaction.”

Quist told said the company’s current plan is to set aside 100% of the apartment homes for prospective residents that earn 60-percent or less of the area median income. The rent and utilities would be capped at $781 for a one-bedroom and $937 for a two-bedroom unit.

Dominium went on a bit of buying spree in Orlando in 2016, acquiring and renovating the Aventura Apartments just south of Orange Blossom Trail and Landon Trace Townhomes east of Mall at Millenia.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with additional information from the developer.

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