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Lake County Developments

Apartment developers seek plan changes for projects on Clermont’s Hooks Street corridor

Two multifamily developers whose projects had been rejected by the Clermont City Council received staff and Planning & Zoning Commission approval Tuesday for revised plans that would bring hundreds of new apartments to the city’s Hooks Street corridor.

Both projects are located on the segment of the road between Citrus Tower Boulevard and Hancock Road, close to the AdventHealth ER and Health Park. The Vue at Clermont, proposed by AC Commercial and Woodfield Development would amend the existing PUD on 30.9 acres between State Road 50 and Hooks Street at Miss Florida Avenue. The PUD entitles the property to 258 multifamily units.

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In January the City Council rejected a plan that would have changed the future land use on property south of Hooks Street to allow for 292 multifamily apartments on both sides of the road —220 units north of Hooks and 72 south of the road. In this plan, the developers excluded the southern section of the project, instead focusing solely on the land north of Hooks.

The submitted plan creates eight lots, seven of which are commercial parcels fronting on S.R. 50. The largest lot would be approximately 24 acres and would be accessed only from Hooks Street using access points that were previously approved.

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Attorney Jimmy Crawford said the owners recognized that one of the biggest problems with the prior plan was the request to build multifamily on the land south of Hooks Street. “We listened very carefully and reviewed the tape and minutes of both the P&Z meeting and the commission meeting to determine what the real problems were. And we went back to the drawing board and made some significant changes.”

The developer is seeking approval for 289 multifamily units, which is just below the maximum density of 12 units per acre. The project has been redesigned to address complaints from some council members regarding the height of retaining walls within the complex, lowering them from 13 feet to 10 feet. One of the retaining walls would bisect the 8,000-square-foot clubhouse and create a unique two-tiered pool amenity.

Plans call for 100 one-bedroom units, 129 two-bedroom units and 59 three-bedroom units. The buildings would utilize a four-story split elevation with elevators and 30 units with tuck-under tandem garages. Charlon Brock Architects led the design work, with civil work by Highland Engineering.

“It’s a great looking project now,” P&Z Chair Max Krzyminski said. “I’m glad to see the adjustments and that you were able to work with the city staff.” The board unanimously recommended approval for the project.

Just down the street, Skorman Construction had won City Council approval for its proposed Clermont Hills apartment development in August 2021 after appealing the City Council’s previous denial to a special magistrate, who ruled in favor of the developer. That project originally was proposed as a 204-unit community on 17 acres at the southwest corner of Hooks Street and Excalibur Road.

Since that time, Skorman signed a purchase contract for the adjacent 9-acre parcel owned by Aspen Senior Living. The revised plan combines the parcels to create a larger project on 26.25 acres, and increases the total number of units to 312.

VHB and FK Architecture redesigned the project so it now consists of 3-story buildings, all within the gated community. Another major change is that it no longer has an access point on Excalibur. Now it has an expanded primary entrance at a median opening on Hooks Street, and the developer will construct designated right and left turn lanes into the complex.

Lowndes shareholder Tara Tedrow said the owner of the Aspen property approached Skorman because he had been getting offers from various multifamily developers because it had the same land use that allows up to 12 units per acre. “When we talked to him we said it’s going to make a lot more sense for us to do one project than to have two different developers doing two projects right next to each other, where you can’t really guarantee the quality of what would be next to us,” she said.

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Tedrow said the redesigned project will have nicer amenities and more open space than the prior approved PUD. These include a yoga lawn, shady areas with hammocks, a dog park, bocce ball courts, a zen garden and a children’s playground.

She noted that Skorman’s award-winning Minneola Hills community has the same density with about half the acreage proposed for Clermont. “We have about double the green space that we have on that award-winning project, and so this one is really going to be special for the residents and for the city at large,” she said.

The Skorman site is just southeast of The Addison at Clermont, a 230-unit apartment community built in 2020 by ContraVest.

Less than a mile away, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a staff-initiated annexation of a new 288-unit apartment complex now under construction by Atlanta-based Penler. When the developer received its permits from Lake County, the city was under a moratorium on new multifamily development. Clermont did approve a utility agreement with Penler and now is moving forward to annex the property.

Penler worked closely with Atlanta-based architect, Dynamik Design, to create a 2-story multifamily prototype that would appeal to renters in a post-COVID environment. Each building has 24 garden-style apartments, all with direct entrances. Interiors feature open floor plans, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, vinyl plank flooring, high-end lighting, and washers and dryers.

The property comprises the northern half of a 50-acre East Clermont Village tract at S.R. 50 and County Road 455. The southern half was purchased by CarMaxx.

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Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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