D.R. Horton nears approval for new South region HQ building near Lake Nona

Bob Moser

D.R. Horton, the nation's largest homebuilder, has its plans and design for a new South Regional Headquarters building near Lake Nona back before a city review committee this week, after six months of delays and revisions.

GrowthSpotter first reported in May that D.R. Horton was preparing to move its regional headquarter operations to East Park, a Horton-planned community just east of Lake Nona proper. 

The Texas-based builder currently leases office space at the Lee Vista Center, just north of Orlando International Airport. 

The company filed a Specific Parcel Master Plan (SPMP) at that time with the city of Orlando for a two-story, 48,000-square-foot office building and commercial complex on a 7.3-acre parcel at the southwest corner of Dowden Road and the S.R. 417 beltway interchange.

The case was tentatively set to go before the Southeast Town Design Review Committee in July. Poulos & Bennett is the project engineer, and Kasper Architects has led design.

But it has been delayed from the SETDRC agenda every month since then, and is scheduled for review at this Thursday's meeting.

Staff are recommending another deferral until the January SETDRC meeting, because D.R. Horton's building elevations still don't meet the city's Urban Design standards. The company has asked to stay on the December agenda.

They have recommended approval of the SPMP, subject to a variety of standard conditions, and specifically an Appearance Review Board approval that shows the building elevations and site plan have been updated to correct the inconsistencies. 

Staff critique focused mainly on architectural design, including poor articulation of the roof line, and inconsistent window sizes on multiple sides of the building. 

Officials with D.R. Horton did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

The new headquarters building is part of the East Park PD and currently has a future land use of Residential. 

A PD amendment should be adopted this month by City Council to change the previously approved 54 residential units to 60,000 square feet of office use and 10,000 square feet of retail.

If approved by SETDRC this week, those meeting minutes would go to City Council for review and approval at its next available meeting, allowing the SPMP to take effect. D.R. Horton could then file for building permits. 

D.R. Horton is the master developer for East Park and has two active communities in construction: Overlook at East Park townhomes and Ravinia.

The company, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, has been the nation's largest homebuilder consistently since 2002. Headquartered in Fort Worth, its operates four regional offices throughout the U.S. 

The proposed regional headquarters site is next to 3.5 acres owned by Reich Properties. John C. Reich was seeking maximum density to build up to 35,000 square feet of medical office and commercial uses, but that request is on hold while he finalizes negotiations for a fuel station on the corner parcel.

Local developers Intram Investments and Blurock Commercial Real Estate are currently seeking entitlements for a 33.5-acre parcel across the street from the Horton site for 82,500 square feet of retail uses. 

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Copyright © 2019, GrowthSpotter