Orange County Property Appraiser
Provided by Pulte Homes
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel
Orange County Property Appraiser/Orange County/GrowthSpotter
New residential development activity is erupting along a two-lane road in East Orlando, a short drive from the University of Central Florida and two master-planned communities.
Hancock Lone Palm Road, off the south side of Colonial Drive just east of S.R. 408, has at least 268 single-family housing units in the pipeline across several projects led by different developers.
Atlanta-based Pulte Homes, Los Angeles-based KB Home, and Maitland-based CFB Homes have all recently established a presence on the corridor. And several national homebuilders have expressed interest in taking on plans for a 100-unit townhome community here — so long as a land developer agrees to improve road infrastructure to accommodate the extra traffic.
This street — near Waterford Lakes and Avalon Park — could be home to even more growth if the owners of a large piece of property were willing to sell.
Max Perlman, the vice president of land acquisition with Pulte Homes, told GrowthSpotter that he’s spoken to Ritchie and Linda Parker about acquiring their 15-acre piece of farmland.
“That family is just keeping the land,” he said. “We talked to them, and they weren’t ready to sell.”
Pulte, the nation’s third-largest homebuilder, bought 21 acres to the south of the Parker property in 2021 for $2.36 million. It’s building a 56-home subdivision here called Savannah Palms with lots as large as 70 feet.
Across the street from the Pulte site, KB Home is building a 37-lot residential community on the east side of Hancock Lone Palm Road called Lone Palm.
KB Home, the nation’s sixth-largest homebuilder, bought the nine-acre parcel in March for $2.3 million.
A few parcels to the south, Maitland-based CFB Homes snagged four parcels totaling 16 acres in December 2021 for $3.4 million. The company is moving forward on plans to bring Hancock Lone Palm Road a 75-lot subdivision called Palm Village.
According to the developer’s website, homes here will range in size from two to four bedrooms.
This property was previously owned by Carlos Rivera, a principal with Cafe Construction & Development. Rivera secured all of the necessary approvals from Orange County before parting with the land.
“We bought that first piece of land there 21 years ago,” Rivera said. “It was too early back then to do anything with, but the timing is just right now with the market being the way it is. So that’s why we decided to move forward with this last year.”
A 100-unit townhome community with a dog park, a jogging path, and large pond could also be coming to the east side of Hancock Lone Palm Road.
Since March, civil engineer Dave Schmitt has been working on behalf of three property owners to prep the land for new development.
Application materials submitted to Orange County show that Shaw Hutto, a land developer with LPA Solutions, LLC, is under contract to purchase the four parcels totaling 18.5 acres.
The project took a step forward in April when the county agreed to rezone the land from its agricultural designation to a residential district. Hutto is currently seeking approval of a preliminary subdivision plan, which was submitted to the county on Nov. 22.
In August, the county submitted a letter advising the applicant of insufficient road capacity.
Renzo Nastasi, Orange County’s manager of transportation planning, said Hancock Lone Palm Road is one of several projects slated for a study to assess the potential improvements to the road.
“At this juncture, we don’t have specific details of what type of improvements may take place,” she said. “Those details will be clarified and defined within the context of the study. We anticipate starting the study sometime this summer.”
Hutto said he will work out a proportionate share arrangement with the county to make necessary improvements to Hancock Lone Palm Road to accommodate the added traffic.
Townhomes, which typically present a cheaper option than detached single-family homes, are in high demand across Orange County.
In Orlando’s scorching housing market of the past two years, many buyers shut out of the fight for single-family homes turned to townhomes, condos and duplexes, according to a recent study of residential real estate sales.
According to data from the Orange County Property Appraiser’s office presented to the county commission during its Aug. 30 meeting, homes across the county sold at an average price of $544,510 in 2021. Sixty-five percent of the transactions that year involved market-rate commodities. Just 4% of the home sales were for less than $300,000, according to the data.
The average sale price for townhomes across the county in 2021 was $331,873, according to the property appraiser’s office.
However, townhome production lags behind detached single-family homes and apartments locally, and Orange County leaders have stated a desire to see more.
The county, on average, processes permits for roughly 400 townhomes per year for the unincorporated areas of the county.
By comparison, the county has awarded permits for 3,176 multifamily units this year, as of late August.
Hutto, who also prepped the KB Home site for development, said that this stretch of East Orange County needs other housing options.
“To try to be in a more affordable range we felt like the townhome product was a better fit,” Hutto said.
He noted that several homebuilders have expressed interest in taking over the townhome project once it receives approval.
To a home builder, Hancock Lone Palm Road is just a good place to be, said Perlman with Pulte Homes.
Waterford Lakes, to the west, spans 840 acres with more than 3,100 homes. Avalon Park, to the south, covers 1,860 acres with more than 3,400 single-family units, 1,431 multi-family units, and more than half a million square feet of commercial space.
The area is also home to the campus of UCF, which sits to the north.
“East Orlando is attractive because of the robust job market surrounding UCF, Research Park and the various employers,” Perlman said, “as well as easy access to SR 417 and SR 50, which makes it a convenient location for people who work throughout the Central Florida area.”
Meanwhile, the west side of Hancock Lone Palm Road already has several completed subdivisions with Waterford Creek built by Mattamy Homes and Bridgewater, built by Park Square Homes.
Nearby, between Lake Pickett Road and State Road 50, Orlando’s first Agrihood community The Grow is moving forward with 2,078 residential lots and more than 100,000 square feet of commercial space centered on a working farm.
Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at (407)-800-1161 or dwyatt@GrowthSpotter.com, or tweet me at @DustinWyattGS. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.