Lake County Developments

Dream Finders Homes enters Clermont market, plans to take over lots in new Hartwood Marsh Road subdivision

A majority of the Hartwood Marsh subdivision consist of 50-foot-wide lots. Single-family homes will also sit on 40-foot lots and 60-foot lots.

Dream Finders Homes is planning to build its first single-family home community in Clermont.

Dan Edwards, vice president of land in Central Florida for DFH, told GrowthSpotter the Jacksonville-based homebuilder has entered into an agreement with joint partnership Sun Terra Communities and JEN Partners to buy 321 lots within the 116-acre Hartwood Marsh subdivision, located on the southwest corner of Hartwood Marsh Road and the future Hancock Road extension.


Sun Terra and JEN Partners actively act as a land banker for DFH, and intend to sell the lots in Hartwood Marsh subdivision in phases. According to a deed recently recorded in Lake County, the partners paid $16.1 million for the subdivision through entity Jen FL 39 LLC.

The subdivision was created by seller, Hartwood Residential LLC, which is managed by developer Jeff Fuqua.


Last year, Hartwood Residential LLC won a series of entitlements from Clermont council members, successfully annexing the land into the city and rezoning and amending its land use to allow for a 321-unit single-family residential subdivision. The engineer, planner and surveyor for the development was Donald W. McIntosh Associates of Winter Park.

The approved Planned Unit Development calls for 86 homes on 40-foot lots, 135 homes on 50-foot lots, and 100 homes on 60-foot lots. The work will be divided into two phases, the first comprising 174 lots, and the second consisting of 147.

As part of the agreed upon PUD, the developers involved with the project will provide over 7 acres of right-of-way along Hartwood Marsh and Hancock Road, including building Hancock Road south of Hartwood Marsh.

Edwards said prices for the single-family homes will likely range from the high $200,000′s to the low $500,000′s for homes on larger lots.

The Hartwood Marsh subdivision stands against a series of proposed projects voted down by Clermont’s board members over the summer.

In July, Clermont’s Planning & Zoning Board denied a future land use and zoning change requested for an assisted living facility by First Baptist Church of Clermont. Board members that rejected the proposal cited traffic concerns and incompatibility with surrounding neighborhoods to defend its reasoning.

Pulte Homes has also struggled to expand its presence in the area. In May, Clermont’s City Council voted down the homebuilder’s proposed 80-lot subdivision across from its 323-lot Lakeview Preserve residential community that it’s building with development partner Taylor Morrison.

The Hartwood Marsh subdivision will be DFH’s first in Clermont, but not its first in Lake County. The homebuilder has taken on a number of projects in Lake and west Orange County.


In Minneola, it continues to expand and build out the Ardmore Reserve community, developed by Hanover Family Builders.

“We’ve had success in the Minneola market as well as in Orange County with our Wincey Groves at Hamlin community,” Edwards said.

He expects to launch sales and build model homes for the Clermont community before the third quarter of next year.

“Clermont was a targeted acquisition for us,” he said. “It’s a successful market, and certainty Jeff finishing the entitlements and getting the project shovel ready was a large draw.”

DFH has been steadily growing its portfolio this year. In Central Florida, the homebuilder has 14 communities in active development and recently expanded its footprint in Minneola and Horizon West - two rapidly growing cities.

In August, GrowthSpotter reported that the company went under contract to purchase a 151-lot residential community in Horizon West, on land south of New Independence Parkway and west of S.R. 429.


Edwards said the company also recently added about 40 lots to its portfolio within Hanover’s Ardmore Reserve community, which tallies up to about 100 lots total.

And just this week, the company announced it acquired a family-founded homebuilding company called H&H Homes, headquartered in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

H&H Homes has built over 9,000 homes since opening its doors in 1991. The acquisition will position DFH to deliver an additional 1,000 homes by the end of the year.

DFH was founded by Patrick Zalupski in 2008 and has been steadily growing ever since. The company has homebuilding, title and mortgage operations in markets throughout Central Florida, as well as Georgia, South Carolina, Colorado and the Washington DC Metro area.

According to the release, DFH closed over 2,048 homes in 2019 and plans to close over 3,000 homes by 2021, prior to the acquisition of H&H Homes. Post transaction, DFH will control over 19,000 homesites.

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