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Dream Finders Homes buys final three phases of Hills of Minneola

Dream Finders Homes is buying the final three phases of Villages of Minneola Hills, where it joins Meritage Homes and Starlight Homes. The section is south of a K-8 school site and regional park.
Dream Finders Homes is buying the final three phases of Villages of Minneola Hills, where it joins Meritage Homes and Starlight Homes. The section is south of a K-8 school site and regional park. (Sun Terra Communities)

Dream Finders Homes will buy out all of the remaining residential homesites in the Hills of Minneola and paid $27.3 million this month for the first of two takedowns for the property.

The Jacksonville-based homebuilder, which went public earlier this year, is acquiring the final three phases of the master-planned community through a land banking arrangement with private equity firm Rockpoint Group, whose founder is on the board of directors for Dream Finders.

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Sun Terra Communities Principal Richard Jerman told GrowthSpotter the deal includes phases 3, 4, and 5 of the main residential section east and north of the Florida’s Turnpike interchange. “There are 967 lots in the south portion of our main residential area. They bought half now and have the other half under contract, scheduled to close in 12 months,” Jerman said. The lots are a mix of 40-foot, 50-foot and 60-foot widths.

Värde Partners helped bankroll Dream Finders Homes acquisition of boutique homebuilder Century Homes by landbanking its largest subdivision.

Sun Terra has begun mass grading the site and will be required to build the spine road and bring utilities to the site before Dream Finders takes possession, Jerman said.

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Dream Finders already has an active portfolio in Lake County, with Talichet, Hartwood Landing, Deer Island and Bella Collina.

The company has been growing rapidly this year. Following its IPO, the builder acquired Orlando-based Century Homes/Craft Homes and all its assets, giving it a foothold in communities like Lake Nona and Sunbridge. DFH also acquired local two homebuilders in North Carolina and Texas in the last year, expanding the company’s footprint throughout the Sunbelt.

Those acquisitions are expected to move DFH into the top 20 list of national homebuilders. It’s anticipated that the consolidated company will own and control over 40,000 lots after closing the Coventry deal in Texas.

Until now, the community has been limited to custom builders. The deal with Dream Finders Homes will bring in a new range of buyers.

SunTerra had bought the Hills of Minneola in 2018 for $70.8 million and completed the entitlements for 2,200 single-family units, 800 active adult units, a town center with several retail stores, a school, various industrial uses, a regional park, and a civic site. The deal with Dream Finders closes out the project on their end after a succession of closings in the last two months. So land sales have reaped nearly $96 million for the developer and its equity partner, Jen Partners. The final takedown in 2022 should push that total to the $120 million range.

Recent deals have included the $21.15 million sale to Pulte Homes for the 846-home Del Webb Minneola community at Hancock Road and County Road 561-A. That deal closed Aug. 13. Earlier that month, Sun Terra sold back about 300 acres of undeveloped non-residential parcels for $29 million to the previous owner, Family Dynamics Land Co. That deal was a pass-through for Skorman Development, which is taking over the entitlements for a hospital campus, commercial uses and a research/industrial park.

The final component of Hills of Minneola will be a gated, cottage-style Build-for-Rent (BFR) community in the town center, between the Publix and the turnpike. Phoenix-based Curve Development will build one of its signature Cyrene-branded communities with a mix of one-story detached and two-story attached rental homes with up to four bedrooms.

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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