Lennar Homes is joining a crowded list of builders entering Clermont's Sawgrass Bay development, with plans for 175 homes in Phase 4 of the project west of U.S. Highway 27.
Lennar paid $8.7 million for 94 acres northeast of existing homes, according to a warranty deed filed last month with Lake County. The sellers were Legacy Land Partners LLC and Trilogy Land Holdings LLC of Irvine, Calif.
Fred E. Miller, director of land acquisition for Lennar Orlando North, said existing permits allow 40- or 50-foot building pads on 62-foot home sites. That would yield 175 homes in the 1,800- to 3,000-square-foot range.
Models will most likely be existing Lennar products. The area is dotted by ponds and conservation areas.
"We saw the limited entitlement risk, and the underlying market demand just warranted us to buy the property and activate sales," Miller said. Lennar joins KB Homes, Home Dynamics, Taylor Morrison, Ryan Homes and others active in the planned development.
The homebuilder is bullish on central Florida, said Richard Rosello, a Lennar vice president for land acquisition. The Orlando North division alone is expected to notch 10 percent year-over-year growth, with 1,250 home sales this year and the mid-1,300s next year, he said. Sawgrass Bay is a key part of that, he said.
"Demand in that area is promising. It's strong," he said. "Most every other builder is in there and they are performing well."
Meanwhile, Lennar expects to start construction next month in Groveland at Waterside Estates on Cherry Lake, a 124-unit development on Cherry Valley Trail northeast of the lake. Those homes will feature 50- and 70-foot building pads.
"We like that area," said Guy Skoy, Lennar's Orlando North Division president. "We've been successful in Lake County and want to keep it going."