A Winter Park developer is set to begin a March 2022 construction of a 57-acre project that will include 37 acres of single-family homes and then an apartment complex on an adjacent 20 acres close to Captain Haynes Road, near the city water plant in Tavares.
Jerome Henin, President of Henin Group, said that while he has not yet decided on all of the specifics of each of the two projects, he is hoping to place 146 single-family units on 37 acres of former orange groves. The property is just west of the Publix at Tavares Crossroads on S.R. 19.
Henin said he wants to build housing that is “more than just roofs” and provides a sense of community in a new urbanism style. The lots would have a minimum width of 60 feet, while corner lots would be at least 69 feet wide.
According to the Congress for the New Urbanism the concept is “a planning and development approach based on the principles of how cities and towns had been built for the last several centuries: walkable blocks and streets, housing and shopping in close proximity, and accessible public spaces.”
Although landlocked, the 37-acre project will be known as Seaport Village as an homage to Tavares’ branding as “America’s Seaport City.” The 20-acre adjacent property is yet to be named. Henin said he has not determined how many apartment units would be developed there, but that the number is somewhere between 300 and 400 units.
He added that any apartment complex would be a place where “people don’t pay rent as an obligation, but as a choice.” The apartment complex would be gated with amenities but the single-family development will not be gated. The Preliminary Subdivision Plan submitted to the city does not create an amenity site for the subdivision.
Henin said a decision about what to build and the number of units for the 20-acre site will be made in February, and that he is currently looking at design options.
“We have options for single-family, but we are also discussing an entire build-to-rent subdivision,” Henin said of the second phase. “The entire subdivision could be rental properties. By February we will have decided whether we’re going to have single-family or make the entire subdivision for rent.”
Henin said demand for housing in Tavares is particularly high because it is seen as a desirable and still-developing area. As a result, projected prices for single-family and rental housing in the development has begun to rise.
“The homes are much higher in price than we thought they’d be,” Henin said. “Seaport (Village) was designed to be in the lower $300,000′s, but we are already closer to $400,000′s because of the trend toward increasing prices.
“I always look for cities that are offering a lot of social life with markets and shops and a nice downtown. Tavares is working hard to create that sense of community.”
The growing “sense of community” in Tavares is what motivated Henin to develop the 57-acre property.
“It used to be that in places like Winter Garden people moved there just because houses were cheaper,” Henin said. “Now they have a great community. People want to have a sense of community, and with so many people working from home, with less commuting, having a community that offers services and amenities is important.”
Tavares, he said, is quickly growing as a community with a sense of itself, Henin said, adding that city officials have encouraged the type of development Henin is planning to build.
Henin said both developments have already received all needed city approvals.
“I’m really happy to work with the City of Tavares,” Henin said. “They appreciate the picture we have for our developments, and we have a common goal, which is to create a community. That’s how we do great projects.”
Completion of Seaport Village is expected by the end of 2022 or early 2023.
Gary Beverly of Civil Design Solutions, Maitland, will be the engineer and project manager for the single-family development, and Bob Koch, of FK Architecture , Winter Park, will design the apartment development.
Henin is also the developer of Elmwood, a single-family community with 115 homes in Tavares.