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Lake County Developments

Mixed-use PUD would add to growth on Mount Dora’s S.R.46 corridor

The Vista Hills mixed-use plan calls for 17 apartment buildings with 442 units and a maximum height of 45 feet.

The final Planned Unit Development to construct as many as 459 apartments and some neighborhood commercial in Mount Dora is headed for the City Council next month.

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the final PUD for Vista Hills on Nov. 16, which includes plans to construct 17 buildings with 26 units, each, or 442 units, on the north side of State Road 46, just west of the Wolf Branch Innovation Gateway District. If approved, the project, which will include neighborhood commercial, will sit on 33.7 acres.

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The final PUD will go before the City Council for first reading on Dec. 5 and for second reading on Dec. 20.

Vista Hills would be just west of Mount Dora's Wolf Branch Innovation District at Round Lake Road. The future Vista Ridge Drive would divide the commercial section from the residential.

“We have owned the property for some time. My father, Dave Croson, got it as an opportunistic purchase during the 2009-2010 period,” said Project Manager Charles Croson. “We have a construction business, J.A. Croson, not far away in Sorento. He was familiar with this area, and we knew State Road 429 at State Road 453 would be going in and State Road 46 would be widened to six lanes.”

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The Crosons are working under the business name Route 46 Properties LLC and have named the project Vista Hills. It would be bisected by the planned Vista Ridge Drive extension, allowing for a natural separation between the residential area and Shoppes at Vista Hills.

“We have been talking with some of the prominent brokers in town and for a time, everyone thought of Mount Dora as a nice place on weekends, but too far away from Orlando to be a proper suburb.” But in the last two years, that has changed, he said. “Everyone knows projects are coming, but the timing revolves around when big government projects get funded and constructed,” such as road widening.

The PUD calls for four commercial/retail buildings fronting on State Road 46 with a total of 55,000 square feet.

If the city council signs off on this project, Croson said he hopes to get dirt moving by the end of 2023. The apartments will go up first, followed by the 55,000 square feet of commercial, which will include businesses such as a coffee shop and ice cream shop and professional services, he said.

The apartments will be constructed in two phases at a proposed density of 17.7 units per acre, and the commercial will be the final phase. The apartment buildings will be a mix of three-story walkups and four-story buildings with elevators. Phase 1 would have 256 units and would start construction in 2024. Phase 2 would have 186 units.

The apartments would come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 800 to 1,400 square feet, depending on the number of bedrooms. Amenities would include a clubhouse and pool, a trail system, a gym, pickleball courts, grills, a playground and a dog park.

Croson said he expects the timing is right for an apartment complex on this property that appeals to empty nesters, as well as younger people commuting to Orlando. The family has prior experience developing senior housing in Tavares, Clermont and Stuart.

The Crosons are working with LPG Urban & Regional Planners, Inc. to plan the project, along with Verlander Landscape Architect LLC and Halff Associates, Inc. for the engineering work. Slocam Platts is the project architect for Vista Hills.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of the developer and the size range of the planned apartments.

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