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The parcel in blue is under contract by IBI Group, which is eying the 102 acres on U.S. 192 for a 400-home mixed use development. It's located just northwest of Harmony (shown in orange).
The parcel in blue is under contract by IBI Group, which is eying the 102 acres on U.S. 192 for a 400-home mixed use development. It's located just northwest of Harmony (shown in orange). (Osceola County)

IBI Group is eyeing a 102-acre parcel practically across the street from Harmony for a 400-unit mixed-use community with up to 10 acres of commercial.

Richard Wohlfarth, an engineer in IBI's Maitland office, met last week with Osceola County's Development Review Committee to discuss the project.

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"We had a good meeting," he told GrowthSpotter on Friday. "Right now I'm working on a revision and will meet again (this) week. If we can come to terms with the county, we think we can get started on the element process."

He sees tremendous growth potential on the E192 corridor because of its proximity to the future Northeast Connector toll road -- a part of the Central Florida Expressway Authority's new master plan.

"We believe it will get built sooner rather than later," he said. "It may be not done by the time we do our project, but we need to be cognizant that will be a reality some time in the future."

Because the property is already designated as Mixed Use in the county's Future Land Use Plan, IBI must gain approval from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for the development plans.

The community will feature traditional neighborhood design (TND) elements with a combination of townhomes and single-family homes.

"It's going to be neo-traditional," Wohlfarth said. "The townhomes and 40s are rear loaded. We'll do traditional front-loaded on the 50s."

Wohlfarth said Harmony has already proven demand in that market for neo-traditional products. That community is launching its western expansion with plans for 432 homes and 102 townhomes.

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"I'm a believer in new urbanism," he said. "It has a lot of benefits aesthetically. It's just a more urban solution and people like it. You have a nice streetscape, and it becomes more pedestrian."

The community will differ from its neighbor because the commercial won't be developed as a town center. "We'd like to do something with more frontage on E192. Harmony has the benefit of having all those units. With just 400 homes, we won't have the synergies to do that type of retail. But we will try to tie it into our architecture."

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Developer says the project just east of Poinciana SunRail station will have a $1 billion economic impact for Osceola County.

IBI has the property under contract and expects to close as soon as the zoning and entitlements are approved. That's typically the stage when IBI sells to a developer. For example, IBI is working with Jacksonville-based GreenPointe Communities on a 1,400-acre mixed-use project in Poinciana.

"I get projects to entitlement and then work with builders -- that's usually where my involvement ends," Wohlfarth said. "But this one, as big as it is, I may end up developing it myself and selling the finished lots to builders."

He expects to be working with builders within the next 30 days. He's also looking for a parcel that could provide direct access to Alligator Lake. IBI's goal is to get all permit approvals in by the end of the year and start horizontal construction in Second Quarter 2017.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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