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The South Florida developer behind Maitland City Center and Orlando’s Creative Village has emerged victorious in a bidding war for one of the top multifamily sites in the tourism corridor.

The Allen Morris Company is planning a 311-unit multifamily community on 21 acres within Xentury City. The development site is part of an assemblage of four parcels totaling 38.7 acres along Holiday Trail, just north of U.S. 192 and east of International Drive.

The Saudi-owned mixed-use development is home to the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, which recently was expanded. The land is north of the former Publix store, which was purchased by Osceola County in 2018 for a future Sheriff’s Annex.

The Allen Morris Company “Project X” is shown as Phase 1 of the multifamily parcels in Xentury City.

Dennis Suarez is managing director of development for the company’s multifamily division and confirmed the firm will be co-developing the site in a joint venture with Xentury City.

“We were drawn to the fact that it’s obviously near Disney, and we thought newer product in that location would be desirable,” Suarez said.

Xentury City CFO Dimitri Toumazos told GrowthSpotter he had been fielding offers from numerous multifamily developers for the property throughout the summer. Morris himself unveiled the project earlier this summer while serving as a panelist for NAIOP’s Multifamily Update, although at the time he wouldn’t disclose the location.

During the event, he shared details for his upcoming projects with Ustler Development in Creative Village. These include a new mixed-use residential tower, a 12-story office building and a Moxey hotel — with a combined value of $250 million. A fourth project was called “Project X.” In the summary, he wrote that Project X represents the first phase of a multi-phased development in the greater Orlando market.

“The location is attractive given its close proximity to major Orlando attractions and high-end communities,” he wrote. “The project is also located in close proximity to major thoroughfares, allowing for easy access throughout the metro area.”

The firm enlisted Atlanta-based Dwell Design Studio to design the garden-style suburban complex. “We wanted to bring a refreshing architectural style,” Suarez said. “We really try to do things that are exceptional because we understand these are people’s homes.”

The community has five separate buildings — each with four stories — with a 10,000-square-foot amenity center and leasing office in the first building.

“I know the term ‘resort-style pool’ gets tossed around, but this really will be a spectacular pool,” Suarez said.

The buildings will be elevator-served and surface-parked. The complex also will feature a fitness center and pet amenities, including a grooming center and paw park. The design team also worked hard to protect a cluster of seven mature oak trees and created a shady park in that spot.

The access would be from Holiday Trail, which will be extended by the developers. Two existing billboards along the S.R. 417 exit ramp would remain. Kimley-Horn is the planning consultant.

Suarez said the group is already pretty far along in its design process but has not selected an interior design firm or landscape architect yet. They hope to start construction by the second quarter of 2022 and deliver the first units in mid-2023.

The Holiday Trail parcels are already approved for 520 multifamily units, and Xentury City has the ability to convert some of its hotel or timeshare entitlements for more dwelling units. Suarez said they intend to seek additional residential entitlements for the future phases, which will be separate, stand-alone communities.

Allen Morris and Ustler shared a Golden Brick Award this year for The Julian Apartments, a $108 million mixed-use residential tower at Creative Village that was completed in 2020.

The Allen Morris Company has about $1.8 billion in new projects in the pipeline just in Florida and Georgia, Morris told the NAIOP audience back in July. “We’re doing some exciting things, and our mission is to inspire, impress and improve. We want to inspire people with the beauty of our projects, impress them with the excellence of their experience … and we want to improve the lives of all we touch. And that’s what really gets me out of bed every morning and just keeps me excited.”

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