Richland Communities is moving another residential planned development forward in Lake County as the company continues its laser focus on Central Florida.
The Groveland City Council is scheduled to consider Richland’s application to establish a Community Development District (CDD) for Cypress Preserve at its May 16 meeting. Located north of Montevista Road and along the east shore of Lake Sumner, the Cypress Preserve property already has an approved preliminary plat for 737 homesites on its 486 acres.
The Planned Unit Development was approved in 2016 at a density of 2.8 homes per acre and requires 60% of the total land to be designated as open space — that includes 9 acres for community parks. Richland purchased the 13-parcel assemblage in 2018 for $6.1 million.
The establishment of the CDD is typically one of the last procedural moves a developer takes before breaking ground on a large-scale project because it allows the district to use tax-free bonds to pay for the infrastructure work and assess future homeowners for the debt service.
The development plan calls for 172 estate lots (65x170) and 317 standard lots (50x120). The plan also incorporates 260 attached units in four-plex and six-plex configurations.
The community is immediately south of the 144-acre South Lake Regional Park, which has been under construction since 2018. The $18 million park is being developed in three phases. When completed, it will have eight softball fields, six baseball fields, eight multi-purpose fields, two cricket fields, playgrounds, trails, a dog park, a boat dock, concession buildings and pavilions.
Richland specializes in building large, master-planned communities. The developer moved its corporate offices from Irvine California to Tampa earlier this year and just opened a satellite office in Maitland led by Vice President Matt Young to manage its growing project list in the Orlando market. That list includes long-held land assets like Sedona Ridge on the Polk-Osceola county line, where the developer is seeking entitlements for a half-dozen multifamily communities and two single family build-for-rent neighborhoods on roughly 181 acres.
Richland has also been on a land-buying spree in Lake County, having recently acquired Loma Linda, 370 acres in Groveland on E Dewey Robins Road with entitlements for up to 740 residential units and a village core, and 550 acres in the Wolf Branch Innovation District just outside of Mount Dora.
Young told GrowthSpotter Richland expects to begin permitting for Wolf Branch within the next 12 months. The conceptual master plan approved by Lake County and the city of Mount Dora entitles the PUD for a mix of uses, including industrial and warehousing, multifamily residential, medical office and commercial. It even reserves 20 acres for a college campus.
Young said the Loma Linda property is likely a long-term hold since it doesn’t have access to utilities at present. “It’s more of an investment opportunity in the area that will have a little bit of a runway,” he said.
The Loma Linda property was voluntarily annexed in 2020 for development under the “Hamlet” land use designation, which requires half of the land to be preserved as open space such as community gardens, agriculture, solar farms, or other passive uses. Under the new city land use code, properties assigned the hamlet land use must have three zoning districts – a small hamlet core with retail, office and attached housing, a hamlet center with smaller-lot housing and a hamlet “edge” with larger lots for housing.