Lake County Developments

Developer reboots stalled Venezia expansion in Howey-in-the-Hills

A 93-lot subdivision in Howey-in-the-Hills that had been "mothballed" during the 2007-08 recession is back on the drawing board, with Flagship Development planning to break ground on its Talichet project as soon as March.

Talichet is planned for 51 acres south of West Central Avenue at South Florida Avenue.


The subdivision will complement Flagship's Venezia development at State Road 19 and Venezia Boulevard, which provided 172 single family lots, all of which have been sold. Venezia also offered town homes and 85,000 square feet of commercial space. Meritage Homes is currently building the last phase of that community.

In fact, the new subdivision was originally referred to as "Venezia North," but Flagship chief executive Ted Bolin said the new development will have the new name.


The developer had sought to redesign the project, adding 72 more homesites, but the the Planning and Zoning Commission and Town Council rejected the increased density last August.

Flagship, a division of Lake Mary-based Flagship Land Group, bought the properties from Tampa's Lykes Bros. in 2007 for $11.2 million. Construction on the original Venezia proceeded, but plans for the northern parcel were put on hold.

"In 2008, the economy tanked, and we mothballed it," said Bolin. "We just sat on it, and we started getting interest two or three years ago."

Talichet will feature 75- by 120-foot lots, which Bolin said allows for swimming pools or other outdoor amenities. It includes 22 acres of open space, parks and conservation areas.

"It's a great community to live in if you want to get away from the more dense areas of the state," Bolin said.

The engineer is Booth, Ern, Straughan & Hiott of Tavares.

Flagship has not yet settled on a builder. The home prices are expected to be in the range of $275,000.

"It went really well over the last two years and we see the demand out there," Bolin said. "The market has returned, and those (Venezia) sales went very well."


Flagship applied to the St. Johns River Water Management District in January for a renewal of the previous permit. Bolin said the project is "close" to having all approvals from the town and other agencies, and site work could start in 60 to 90 days.

Tom Harowski, Howey-in-the-Hills' planning consultant, said Flagship does not yet have a subdivision approval. "The ball is sitting in their court right now," he said. "Whenever they submit their application, we'll deal with it through the normal process that the town has."

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