Local developer targeting Osceola for new apartment communities

Orlando-based Elevation Development is eyeing a pair of sites in the Kissimmee submarket for new apartment communities, but they may have to tweak their plans before submitting any formal applications, county planners said.

Elevation Principal Shaman Foradi met last week with Osceola's Development Review Committee to discuss preliminary plans for sites on Boggy Creek Road, south of Tavistock's Poitras property, and on Old Tampa Highway, just east of the Poinciana SunRail station.

The Old Tampa Highway site is the larger of the two.

"We have about 66 acres," Foradi said. "A large amount is wetland that we're leaving undisturbed. Our main objective is to get density here -- we're proposing 510 units." 

The site would have to be rezoned from its current industrial use, and county planners told Foradi he could apply for an even higher density because the site is on the perimeter of a designated employment center.

"We'd like to be able to make it affordable," Foradi said.

A few major hurdles would be attempting to relocate the existing railroad crossing that provides access to the site so it aligns with the main entrance to the apartment complex. The staff also suggested the developer try to find a way to build a bike trail linking the complex to the SunRail station, but the wetlands could make that cost prohibitive.

The Boggy Creek Road site is 13.8 acres, and Elevation proposed a 240-unit apartment complex. But the site presents significant development challenges.

Long-term Planning Manager Cori Carpenter told Foradi the county's comprehensive plan update would redesignate the future land use for that site as Medium Density Intensity (MDI) instead of the current mixed-use. 

While that land use allows multifamily residential, it must also include office or employment uses on the site. Retail is not allowed, but live-work, mixed-use buildings would be encouraged. An assisted living facility or daycare center could also be permitted.

"As far as we're concerned, this location is good for multifamily" Foradi said. "We hadn't considered doing office. We would need more height if we do mixed-use."

Mike McDowell, project manager for Elevation, told GrowthSpotter the MDI requirements aren't necessarily a dealbreaker, but the team will have to reevaluate the project before moving forward.

"We’re not discouraged by anything we heard today," he said. "Those changes might benefit the project in the long run." 

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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