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Bella Collina developer offers cash for former Eatonville school site

A 100-acre parcel in Eatonville that several developers have been attempting to buy.
A 100-acre parcel in Eatonville that several developers have been attempting to buy. (Teresa Burney)
A developer associated with Bella Collina and Ryan Homes pitched a plan to the Town of Eatonville Tuesday night offering a million-dollar deposit and a letter of intent to proceed immediately to sale contract with the Orange County School System to pay about $10 million in cash for a 100-acre former school parcel at Interstate 4.

Randall Greene of DCS Capital Investments LLC made the proposal during public comments at the end of Eatonville's town meeting. However, Eatonville Mayor Anthony Grant shut down discussion of the offer after complaining it was not part of a structured process of choosing a developer. Grant said he wanted developers to bid on the rights to develop the property. 

DCS Capital Investments is the third to make an offer to purchase the land but the only one to offer a cash payment and a closing that could occur in less than 30 days.

The site is owned by the Orange County School Board, but the town has a say in its sale. Now the land is off the tax rolls.

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"We could have it on the tax rolls by July," Greene told GrowthSpotter before the meeting. He said he planned to have a meeting with a school board reperesentative today to discuss the offer.

The developer proposed retail and multi-family residential on the site. However before vertical construction could begin, the developer said before the meeting they would need to demolish buildings on the site and build road infrastructure, pushing the total project cost to the $250 million range.

Greene said he had tried once before to present the offer at a town meeting but was not granted time on the Council's calendar. 

DCS Capital Investments is controlled by Dwight Schar, an owner of the Washington Redskins and founder of NVR, a large national home builder that builds under the Ryan Homes brand, among others.

The two previous proposals by other developers offered grand plans but appear to have stalled.

The most recent was called the World Transportation Exchange, including eight stories of luxury automobiles. The Council voted 3-2 against working with the group last fall. Two days later the face of the proposal, Elliot Kahana, a longtime Tampa-area luxury-dealership manager from Clearwater, was indicted on one count of embezzling $29,400 in veterans' benefits. He pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing $29,400 in veterans benefits mistakenly paid to his deceased mother, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Before that, the town signed a contract with the SKL Equities group, which wanted to build retail and residential units around a "dome sportsplex." That group had upped its offer to $9.5 million for the land.

tburney@growthspotter.com or 407-420 6261

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