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Atlanta-based Pulte Group continues to expand its Central Florida portfolio along the U.S. 27 corridor with an assemblage of six parcels in Haines City and unincorporated Polk County spanning 125 acres.

Pulte is co-applicant with the seller, citrus grower Warren L. McKnight Jr., on a proposed land use change and rezoning to allow a 537-home subdivision on the site, which is located across U.S. 27 from AdventHealth Heart of Florida Hospital at the intersection with Forest Lake Drive. The property is next door to Forest Lake, 574-home subdivision, where the homebuilder is currently pre-selling under its Centex brand from the nearby Citrus Isle community in Davenport.

Forest Lake was permitted and developed by Cassidy Organization and sold to Pulte and Richmond American Homes, which is also selling its Seasons product line in the community. Centex is offering three floorplans with prices starting at $256,990.

The McKnight assemblage could serve as an expansion of Forest Lake or as a separate, stand-alone community. The site plan prepared by Kimley-Horn calls for a mix of 40-, 50- and 60-foot lots and 2.5 acres of amenities. Like the adjacent community, it would be constructed over three phases. It is set to go to the Board of County Commissioners May 5 and May 18.

Polk County would provide water and sewer, according to documents submitted to the county. Pulte sees the project build out in 2024 in three phases.

“The site is ideally suited for the proposed use due to its proximity to US Highway 27 and Interstate 4,” the group wrote in its proposal. “The site is centrally located and can be easily accessed by the existing roadway network. This site has an optimal location for the proposed use to meet market demands.”

Pulte says the development will provide housing for families which will in turn help serve the needs of the community and will housing for employees serving the growing area and businesses. “It also creates revenue such as property taxes and user fees, while using minimal County resources.”

Polk County, which is less than 40 minutes from both Tampa and Orlando, saw a 2.45% population growth rate in the past year, according to the most recent U.S. Census figures. The county’s estimated population is 761,137, higher than County Manager Bill Beasley predicted (725,000-750,000) in his state of the state presentation in January. The county’s population has increased 26.2% since 2010.

Pulte has been active along the U.S. 27 corridor in recent years. In addition to Forest Lake, the homebuilder is currently building Windsor Island Resort on Sandmine Road, and in Lake County it has several active projects: Serenoa, Cagan Crossings and Ridgeview at Lakeview. The builder is also a contracted buyer for the recently approved Rubin Groves residential and resort community just north of Cagan Crossings.

GrowthSpotter editor Laura Kinsler contributed to this report.

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