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Developer pitches new retirement community next to ChampionsGate

Developer pitches new retirement community next to ChampionsGate
Polk developer Jean Marsan filed a conceptual site plan mixing single family homes, apartments, commercial uses and assisted living on this 156.4-acre site next to ChampionsGate. (Osceola County)

Polk County developer Jean Marsan met with Osceola County planners Wednesday morning to get feedback on his proposal for a 156.4-acre gated retirement community on Bella Citta Boulevard, next to ChampionsGate.

Marsan, owner of Marsan Realty and Better Built Homes, is proposing a total of 671 residential units, divided between apartments and single-family homes. The project, dubbed Terra Vest, would also include a 200-unit assisted living facility and potentially 69,000 square feet of commercial space.

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Marsan said he is in early discussions with Tohopekaliga Water Authority to buy 10 acres of the utility's adjacent property fronting on Bella Citta for a future park. "Those are just talks on the table right now," he said.

He said he hasn't committed to making the entire community age restricted - though he liked the idea of exempting the project from school impact fees. It's more likely he'd carve out an age restricted village within the community.

Developer Jean Marsan and Lennar Homes are seeking approvals for nearly 1,500 new homes on Bella Citta Boulevard in the Four Corners area. Terra Vest would include an extension of Westside Boulevard.
Developer Jean Marsan and Lennar Homes are seeking approvals for nearly 1,500 new homes on Bella Citta Boulevard in the Four Corners area. Terra Vest would include an extension of Westside Boulevard. (staff)

The site straddles the future extension of Westside Boulevard, which Marsan would be required to build and for which he could receive mobility fee credits. It's also adjacent to the next development phase of ChampionsGate.

Lennar filed a preliminary phasing plan for approximately 821 new homes and condos on and around the ChampionsGate Country Club.

Both developers met separately with county planners to discuss issues related to gating and connectivity. Lennar already has a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) and a Planned Development approved in 2013 that allows for private roads. Marsan also wants Terra Vest to be gated, but he's required to build Westside as a public road.

Jose Gomez, principal engineer for the county, told both applicants the county wants to see an east-west road connection linking the two developments. He told the Lennar delegation the public street would improve their project, because it would give residents access to Westside without having to use Bella Citta.

Gomez also advised Marsan that he could not build Terra Vest as a gated community. "There may be some elements you could gate and make private, but the code requires some public streets that provide east-west connectivity," he said.

Marsan has two residential projects in various stages of permitting in Four Corners, both in Polk. Natures Reserve would be a 145-home subdivision on FDC Grove Road across from Posner Park. Fox Run, located at the intersection of Kinney Harmon Road and U.S. 17-92 would have 251 vacation homes.

Marsan's site plan, which was prepared by Askey-Hughey, also shows multifamily and retail development -- including a Walmart -- across the county line at the northeast corner of Bella Citta and U.S. 27.

Marsan told GrowthSpotter he's not aware of any plans for a Walmart at that location. Polk County officials have indicated the retailer previously had an option on that property.

Park Square Homes' new commercial development division, SunPark, is developing a mix of uses on the 40-acre parcel, at the southeast corner of Bella Citta and U.S. 27.

SunPark Company Vice President Vishaal Gupta said the company broke ground two weeks ago on Phase 1, a 326-unit Champions Vue apartment complex. The second phase includes a grocery-anchored retail plaza and 120-key Woodsprings Suites extended stay hotel.

"I know Walmart wants to be in that area," he said. "We were in discussions with them, but we couldn't accommodate them. They wanted too much acreage. We're probably going to go with a smaller grocer."

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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