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Fontana Lakes would add 3,000 more homesites on Lake Toho

Fontana Lakes is a 677-acre mixed-use master-planned community that will have a marina on Lake Toho's Friar's Cove.
Fontana Lakes is a 677-acre mixed-use master-planned community that will have a marina on Lake Toho's Friar's Cove. (Donald W. McIntosh and Associates)

The owner of Fontana Lakes, a proposed master-planned community between the Florida’s Turnpike and Lake Tohopekaliga, is reactivating the long-dormant project.

Master developer Jeff Fuqua, president of Amick Holdings, has applied to the South Florida Water Management District for mass grading permits for the entire project and separately for Phase 1, which begins in the southeast quadrant of the property at the Friar’s Cove Road. The project has an approved Concept Plan that entitles it for nearly 3,000 homes and 170,000 square feet of commercial and office space.

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Fontana Lakes also includes a future phase with a marina development on Friar’s Cove, providing boating access to Lake Toho. The marina would anchor a 248-unit condominium community. In total, the project is entitled for 1,752 single-family homes and 1,200 multifamily units.

Fuqua also recently purchased mitigation bank credits for the first phase of the Fontana Lakes, a 677-acre mixed-use marina development on Friar’s Cove. Fuqua told GrowthSpotter homebuilder D.R. Horton sold him the mitigation credits from its Twin Oaks Mitigation Bank, but it has no contractural interest in Fontana Lakes.

Master developer Jeff Fuqua has applied for mass grading permits for Fontana Lakes. Records show D.R. Horton is linked to Phase 1.
Master developer Jeff Fuqua has applied for mass grading permits for Fontana Lakes. Records show D.R. Horton is linked to Phase 1. (Donald W. McIntosh and Associates)

Fontana Lakes is one of five large master-planned and mixed-use communities that make up Osceola County’s 11,000-acre East Lake Toho element of the Comprehensive Plan. Kindred is the northernmost of the projects and was the first to be developed. It was followed by Tohoqua and Edgewater. Fontana Lakes is the fourth in line, all will be linked by the Cross Prairie Parkway.

Fuqua last updated the Concept Plan in 2018 but he has not submitted any new plans with Osceola County. Development Review Committee Chairman Jose Gomez told GrowthSpotter the next step would be to file a preliminary subdivision plan for Phase 1. He said it’s possible Fuqua is waiting to get SFWMD approval before applying to Osceola County.

The ranch property south of Lake Toho is entitled for a mixed-use planned development with up to 17,000 homes.

D.R. Horton is the master developer and exclusive builder at Kindred, which is slated for about 3,000 homes. The Texas-based homebuilder is approaching buildout of the community’s second phase and has approved site development plans for the third and final phase. This month, D.R. Horton pulled building permits for 50 homes and townhomes in Phase 2. The builder also applied for permits to build a second amenity center and pool to serve the 759 homes in that section.

BTI Partners told GrowthSpotter this week the firm has deals in place with three national homebuilders for all 1,125 lots in Phase 1 in Edgewater. The developer is expected to submit preliminary subdivision plans for additional residential phases later this year. “The demand has been strong from builders — lot’s of interest,” Land Development Director Kevin Kramer said. “So we’ve begun the planning stages going in three directions.”

Home development in Tohoqua is also picking up. Earlier this month Lennar Homes paid close to $20 million for three future phases. The builder now controls over 700 lots in the community, where it joined Mattamy Homes (328 homes) and Pulte (508 homes).

Last year D.R. Horton completed the buildout of its 80-lot Express Homes community, Savannah, on Friar’s Cove Road less than a half-mile away from Phase 1 of Fontana.

Immediately south of Fontana Lakes is Green Island Ranch, a nearly 6,000-acre DRI entitled for up to 17,000 homes. The ranch, which is located in the county’s South Lake Toho Element, just hit the market this week for $140 million.

“You know, several DRIs in this area have been hanging around for the past few decades, and it’s finally happening,” Kramer said. “We’ve broken ground, construction has started, and engineering drawings are designed and approved. And the time has come.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story reported that homebuilder D.R. Horton had purchased for wetland mitigation bank credits for Fontana. The homebuilder is not connected to the project. GrowthSpotter regrets the error.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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