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Avex Homes partners with land banker on $60+ million portfolio deal

This four-bedroom Savannah floorplan by Avex Homes is offered with three different exterior elevations, including this Craftsman version.
This four-bedroom Savannah floorplan by Avex Homes is offered with three different exterior elevations, including this Craftsman version. (Handout)

Orlando-based Avex Homes is teaming up with Sun Terra Communities on a five-part portfolio deal worth over $60 million that spans three Central Florida counties.

Avex President Eric Marks said the portfolio will add about 1,150 fully-engineered residential lots to the builder’s inventory, and the company is still looking for more.

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“This is really just backfilling our sell-out communities,” he said. “We’re still actively looking for more land. We’re generally opportunistic and want to spread our projects throughout Central Florida so we’re competing in different submarkets.”

Three of the projects are located in Lake County. Sun Terra and finance partner JEN Partners closed earlier this summer on the first project: Sorrento Pines, which is just south of the Eagle Dunes golf community in Sorrento. Clearwater developer Mike Galvin purchased the 348-lot subdivision for $6 million and simultaneously sold 138 lots for $4.44 million to Jen Florida 42, an entity created by Sun Terra to landbank to site and sell the lots to Avex.

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Avex Homes will offer mostly quick move-in homes where buyers can select their kitchen cabinets and counters and their flooring.
Avex Homes will offer mostly quick move-in homes where buyers can select their kitchen cabinets and counters and their flooring. (Handout)

“We are pleased with our relationship With Avex Homes,” Sun Terra Principal Richard Jerman said. “We have confidence in their abilities as a builder and look forward to a mutually beneficial future.”

Two other subdivisions in Lake County are scheduled to close within 60 days, subject to final approval from each jurisdiction. Sunset Lake Estates is in the City of Mascotte, across from Mascotte Elementary School. The subdivision will have 134 lots. The third project is in the city of Leesburg and will include about 260 lots.

The largest project in the portfolio is located in Brevard County, in the city of Cocoa Beach. Jim Reinert, VP of Land Acquisition, said Sun Terra paid $7.6 million for Watermark, a 350-lot subdivision originally entitled and permitted by Condev and JTD Land Co. The community will have a mix of 40-foot and 50-foot lots.

“Because it’s a larger project, we’re able to offer two product lines that serve different price points,” Reinert said.

Finally, the Sun Terra affiliate will close this week on Covered Bridge at Liberty Bluff, a 256-lot subdivision in Haines City that was entitled by CBD Real Estate. GrowthSpotter previously reported that Avex was the contracted buyer.

The property was once approved for a solar farm. Now the owners want to rezone it for a residential community.

Marks said site development work has commenced at Sorrento Pines and should begin shortly at Liberty Bluff and Watermark. Those projects will all start to deliver finished lots by the second quarter of 2022, whereas the others will be a few months behind that schedule.

All of the communities will be amenitized to varying degrees, based on the size and market. “We want to be sensitive to price point,” Reinert said. “We don’t want to overburden the buyers with fees for a glamorous amenity they may not ever use.”

Avex Homes is in the process of shifting its sales model to a spec-heavy program, so pricing won’t be released until closer to the grand opening.

“We’re going to be implementing a ‘Personalized by You’ program where the buyers can select their cabinets, counters and flooring and still move into their home within 45 days,” Marks said.

Avex and Sun Terra have worked together on previous land banking arrangements, most recently in Kissimmee’s Osceola Village.

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

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