A developer is in the early stages of seeking permits for an office and retail center at the doorstep of The Village's newest neighborhood off C.R. 466-A in Fruitland Park.
Located at the northwest corner of 466-A and Micro Race Track Road, the 10.38-acre property is owned by Degma Investments LLC, an affiliate of Los Angeles-based Degma Investing, a financing coordinator for real estate development.
The company has hired Riddle Newman Engineering of Leesburg as a consultant for the project, per an application with the St. Johns River Water Management District. Officials with either company could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Charlie Rector, Fruitland Park's community development director, told GrowthSpotter he has seen preliminary plans for the development that call for medical offices and retail on the site, with two buildings of 14,000 square feet and 18,000 square feet. However, he stressed the application has not yet been signed by the applicant, is not officially submitted and could change.
The location of the property, practically across the street from the newest Villages residential development where some homes cost $1 million or more, is well-timed since 2,100 homes in the new "Village" are nearly completed.
Rector says that he has heard from other cities where The Villages builds homes that, while the construction process is nearly done, the city will see another boom to follow with developments like Degma's proposed "Barclays Town Center" project.
But the afterburner of a new Villages development isn't just new commercial. He expects an aftermarket in the neighborhood as buyers begin to take out permits to customize their homes.
Rector said that many of the homes haven't been moved into yet as they await after-purchase remodeling, which is proving to be quite extensive as many buyers want to put their personal stamp on the homes.
Buyers are ripping out the standard kitchen countertops, cabinets, and flooring and bathroom fixtures to upgrade the look before they even move in, Rector said. That after-sale upgrading isn't stopping with the homes' interiors, with many buyers having the standard landscape package of plants and grass removed before they even move in, he added.
"They are ripping out plants that were just installed and grass that hasn't even had a lawnmower run over it," Rector said. "And you aren't anybody if you aren't putting in a swimming pool. We are amazed every day."