IBI Group seeking new permits for 3,000-home BK Ranch project

Entitlement specialist IBI Group is rebooting the 948-acre BK Ranch mixed-use project south of Kissimmee with a new round of permit applications.

The firm had been seeking a Comprehensive Plan Amendment in 2015 for a Mixed-Use district. At the time the property had a developer on board, GreenPointe Communities, and it was linked with a 399-acre parcel to the east owned by the Frank Brown estate.

That application expired early this year, after GreenPointe dropped out of the project. 

IBI's Richard Wohlfarth reapplied for the CPA in March, and last week notified Osceola County staff that the owners wanted to withdraw the application and re-file -- this time seeking a Tourist Commercial land use.

He also filed a Planned Development rezoning application, which can run concurrently with the CPA.

"It's basically the same application," Wohlfarth told GrowthSpotter on Monday. "The Tourist Commercial just gives us a bit more flexibility. The intent is still to do 3,000 (residential units) with commercial and a school. All the same components are still there."

IBI also filed a dewatering permit application with South Florida Water Management District, and is seeking an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit.

Wohlfarth said he expects to wrap up the permitting process in about six months. He is working on behalf of the ranch owners to position the property for sale.

"We don't have a broker -- there's no exclusive on this," he said. "We could subdivide or we could go the master developer route. Right now we're leaning toward a master developer."

The BK Ranch is located on Old Tampa Highway, 1.3 miles west of the new Poinciana SunRail station and about a mile east of Reunion Resort.

The master development plan has a few changes from the 2016 version. A number of individually owned parcels are no longer included in the application and are shown as outparcels on the map. That reduced the size of the project by about 17 acres.

But most of the neighborhood types and locations are similar. The map still shows 15 neighborhoods with multifamily (1,760 units) and townhomes (710 units) concentrated on the southern half of the parcel -- closer to the CSX rail line -- and 530 single-family lots on the northern half. 

The buildout scenario envisions 378,000 square feet of commercial and office space. It also identifies several park sites, and reserves 31.5 acres for a future elementary and high school. It preserves 426 acres of wetlands.

The first 200 homes and townhomes could be developed in 2018, with another 500 residential units and 75,000 square feet of non-residential uses in the second year.

The owners are not seeking entitlements for a hotel, but the Tourist Commercial land use with PD zoning would allow for that use, and for short-term rentals.

An economic analysis by Fishkind & Associates estimates that project could be developed in as few as 7 years and could create 908 direct jobs. That includes the number of jobs at the future schools and at a new county fire station.

"In addition, with SunRail going into service next year the residential development will provide direct connections for residents to SunRail and then to Kissimmee, Tupperware, and Downtown Orlando," Wohlfarth wrote. "The location of BK Ranch provides an unique ability to develop a Transit-Oriented Development that will be unique in the entire length of SunRail."

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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