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More than 100 acres of vacant timberland in Leesburg poised for development

Condev owns about 110 acres along U.S. Highway 27 and near Florida's Turnpike.
Condev owns about 110 acres along U.S. Highway 27 and near Florida's Turnpike. (SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate)

Under the new ownership of Winter Park developer Condev, a heavily wooded site next to the Orlando Health South Lake Hospital Emergency Room — Blue Cedar in Leesburg may be developed.

GrowthSpotter recently learned the real estate development and investment company paid $4.65 million for the 110-acre site in November. The property sits directly south of the free-standing emergency room at 22316 U.S. Highway 27, built in 2018. The vacant land is zoned for commercial use but enjoys an agricultural tax exemption.

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In an email to GrowthSpotter, Condev president Chris Gardner said the company doesn’t have immediate plans laid out at this time, but was attracted to the site for its location.

“The turnpike corridor from Clermont to Minneola is emerging as one of Central Florida’s strongest submarkets, and the recent industrial development in the area is creating a new source of employment for future residents,” he wrote.

Prior to the sale, the Diocese church amended the property's land use to allow for a mix of senior housing, multifamily and office and retail development.

At the time of the transaction, commercial broker Marvin Puryear with SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate, said the site was purchased with plans for a mix of residential development, medical office space and hard corner retail, according to a news release.

Gardner said they may had mentioned to the seller that residential and medical office development would make sense in the area, “given the growth along the Turnpike and proximity to the hospital. However, we have not discussed nor shown any preliminary/conceptual plans to the city or county,” he adds.

Puryear co-listed the site with Dean Saunders, who recently won his second APEX Award from the Realtors Land Institute as the nation’s overall top producer and Top 20 Producer nationally for agricultural/ranch land sales.

Neither Puryear or Saunders were immediately available to comment.

Records show the sellers had owned the site since 2004. The 110-acre property combines two parcels south of Blue Cedar Road, on the southwest side of Florida’s Turnpike.

“We are seeing significant growth and interest with developers in the Northern Groveland and South Leesburg corridor,” Puryear said in the release. “This is due to several factors including ease of access to the Orlando Metro area, Orlando International Airport, and the area’s attractions for workers.”

Earlier this year, Leesburg’s City Commission approved the annexation of nearly 160 acres into the city that will pave the way for the construction of almost 300 new residences. The development follows the first phase of the project on U.S. 27 at Florida’s Turnpike, built by Highland Homes in unincorporated Lake County.

Hanover Capital Partners is also active in the city. The homebuilder is behind a 532-home subdivision on S.R. 48 currently under construction just east of the Highland Lakes retirement community.

Nearby in Groveland, Hanover Land Company is getting ready to break ground on new speculative 420,000-square-foot industrial facility in the Ford Commerce Park, across the street from the new $125 million Kroger-Ocado distribution center.

Other companies in the commerce park include Dunkin’ Donuts Distribution, Niagara Water Bottling Company, Domino’s Distribution, and Metals USA.

Last year, GrowthSpotter reported Amazon signed a long-term lease, with right of first refusal, for a roughly 200,000-square-foot warehouse under the planned project name, DFL8 - Groveland Last Mile. The site is located across a Home Depot distribution center at 19975 Independence Boulevard.

Atlanta-based Seefried Industrial Properties is partnering with Fortress Investment Group on the Groveland Amazon warehouse.

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Meanwhile, Condev has made strides on several of its large development projects throughout Central Florida.

In 2019, the company purchased a roughly 250-acre site in the master-planned Harmony community near St. Cloud in Osceola County that’s expected to yield more than 475 single-family lots. Gardner said the company is in the permitting phase. Lots in the community called Windgate will range from 40-feet to 50-feet.

He said he hopes be under development in the next three months. No homebuilders have been signed on just yet.

In Sanford, the company recently amended approvals for a nearly 40-acre development site, less than a mile from the city’s SunRail station that it bought from the Diocese of Orlando last year.

Gardner said the site, which lies on the north side of S.R. 46 (W. 1st Street), between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and West Airport Boulevard, is entitled to accommodate up to 650 residential units, including a mix of apartment units and townhomes. The company is also looking to develop a small commercial component along S.R. 46.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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