Benge Development revealed on Monday plans for a 100- to 130-acre mixed-use development at the northwest corner of state roads 429 and 441, with an early cost estimated of $400 million, that stands to become the largest in development along the Western Beltway north of Florida’s Turnpike.
Plans include 1,000 apartments, mixed-use commercial, a hotel, an assisted-living facility, a YMCA and a park.
“We’re hoping by the third quarter of next year to have site work commenced,” said president Tony Benge. “... It’s job-growth driven. You’ve got a massive warehouse distribution facility going in across the street on the south side of 441, and just all the economic pressures going into the Apopka market.”
The Collier Companies of Gainesville will handle construction, with Benge having enlisted the services of NV5, formerly Lochrane Engineering of Orlando for civil design, Fishkind & Assoc. of Orlando for preliminary economic analytics and Pittsburgh-based GAI Consultants for site planning with Andrew Sheppard of its Orlando office working on the project.
“On the early stages, it’s a great core group that’s worked well with the City of Apopka – Mayor Nelson has embraced the project and has been very approachable with everything,” Benge said. The 429 West project, as Benge referred to it, awaits the city’s annexation and planning and zoning processes. “It’s one that we think will be very well received in the community.”
Commercial tenants are already interested in end caps and key spots, Benge said.
On-property amenities of a live-work-play nature should complement nearby parks and other plusses to make the community desirable, said Andy Hogshead, Collier CEO.
“Residents want a whole lifestyle right now, so we are excited to be part of a project that has mixed-use in it and multifamily,” he said. “I’m excited about the YMCA that’s going to bring a lot of community activity and community focus.” Benge added that potential partnerships with local high schools are being explored for the YMCA.
It’s been perhaps a decade since Collier had a project in Metro Orlando, Hogshead said.
“We love the trends toward this market, we love economic growth, we love expansion, we love 429 and we feel very good about the need for residential development,” he said. “... We’ve been looking for a while for the right project.”
Early work already has begun finding trades in a tight labor market, Hogshead said.
“We’re down here roughing out potential joint venture partners on some of the pieces, looking for all sorts of trades, looking for advice consultants, etc.,” he said. “We haven’t put any of that to bed yet.”