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New subdivision plans filed on site of former Groveland mansion

Cypress Bluff would be approved for a total of 386 homes, down from the previously requested 437-home project that was denied by Groveland City Council in 2020.
Cypress Bluff would be approved for a total of 386 homes, down from the previously requested 437-home project that was denied by Groveland City Council in 2020. (Stringfellow Planning)

Orlando developers Kyle Sanders and Greg Clark have not given up on their effort to build a family-friendly residential neighborhood on the 163-acre assemblage on Lake Lucy that once was home to Lake County’s largest mansion.

Sanders’ Sovereign Land Company is the contracted buyer for the Groveland property that was approved in 2006 as a Planned Unit Development called Indigo Lakes Village. Last year they tried twice to amend the PUD so they could reduce the commercial entitlements and redesign the residential portion to focus more on detached single-family homes, only to be shot down by the City Council in a humbling succession of 5-0 votes.

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Instead of walking away from the project, Sanders and Clark extended their contract and set about redesigning it with a completely different approach and a new name: Cypress Bluff.

Cypress Bluff Boulevard would be lined with mixed-use buildings and live-work units in the village core section of the community.
Cypress Bluff Boulevard would be lined with mixed-use buildings and live-work units in the village core section of the community. (Stringfellow Planning)

“Last time, we applied for a PUD amendment,” Sanders said. “This time, we’re asking to rezone the property consistent with the city’s new form-based code.”

Sanders and Clark, of Loma Land Co., are seeking a comprehensive plan amendment to change the future land use, as well as a zoning change to remove the PUD zoning, contingent on the preliminary plat approval.

“We don’t want to lose the rights we’re entitled to under the PUD until we have all those items approved,” Sanders said.

They worked closely with planner Alex Stringfellow to create a new concept with a lower overall density, a greater variety of housing types and more emphasis on quality architecture and open space. Knight Engineering is the civil partner.

The new development plan calls for 56 townhomes, including 20 live-work units along Cypress Bluff Boulevard.
The new development plan calls for 56 townhomes, including 20 live-work units along Cypress Bluff Boulevard. (Stringfellow Planning)

Stringfellow told GrowthSpotter he met with all of the council members to get their input before designing the community to be sure it meets with their expectations.

“The nice thing about planning it before you engineer it is you can solicit all that feedback first before you get somebody designing a plat,” he said. “The city’s very excited about it, and we’ve actually been able to partner with them, and they’re going to take all this concurrently, meaning they will do the future land use, zoning and plat all at the same time because they want to expedite this project.”

The submitted preliminary plat would maintain two commercial/mixed-use parcels totaling 3.85 acres at the main entrance. Sanders said the Sovereign/Loma team would develop about 45,000 square feet of retail and commercial space on those parcels.

“We don’t have multifamily, but we’ve added some live-work units that are permitted in the new code,” Sanders said. Those units, in the form of attached townhomes, would line the main entrance road from the Village Core section of the project.

The total number of residential units would be 386, down from the 437-lot PUD that was denied in 2020. The plan includes 56 townhomes, 84 small lots (35 feet); and 246 front-loaded lots in two sizes (60 feet and 70 feet). The new plan also eliminates a large public park within the community and replaces it with multiple smaller parks. The amenity center would be located directly on Lake Lucy, and an observation tower park is proposed on the hilltop where the former mansion stood to capitalize on the views.

The neighborhood would include several parks, including one on the hilltop site of the former Groveland Mansion, where an observation tower could provide views to Lake Lucy.
The neighborhood would include several parks, including one on the hilltop site of the former Groveland Mansion, where an observation tower could provide views to Lake Lucy. (Stringfellow Planning)

“The community is intended to have a consistent character with smaller attention to detail in the design, as well,” Stringfellow said. “We’re looking at creating curbless roads next to the open spaces, similar to what you’ll see in a traditional neighborhood like Baldwin Park or Celebration.”

There’s more emphasis on front porches, with garages moved to the back of the lots in the Village Center. “The lots are a little bit larger than you typically would see in a more conventional plan, with the smallest front-loaded product on a 60-foot lot,” Stringfellow said. “There are rear-loaded detached homes proposed, which we think is a really great product for that area, and it meets the current demand that you’re getting from a lot of these local governments.”

The 47 Village Edge lots will all be 70 feet wide, those include the 14 lots directly on the lakefront.

The project is designed to be developed over two phases. Sanders said they haven’t selected any homebuilders yet. “We’ve had significant interest, but we want to wait until we get everything approved,” he said.

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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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