Fort Lauderdale-based BTI Partners has cleared its first major permitting hurdle for the roughly 1,400-acre Edgewater mixed-use district east of Osceola County’s Lake Tohopekaliga.
The county’s Development Review Committee approved BTI’s Concept Plan that would entitle the land for up to 6,148 new residential units spread among seven neighborhoods and an urban center with nearly 3 million square feet of office and commercial uses. BTI, which specializes in developing large, master-planned communities, is under contract to buy approximately half of the former Edgewater Development of Regional Impact, the largest of the five DRIs in the county’s East Lake Toho Conceptual Master Plan.
“Our land planning team at Rj Whidden created a great plan that was consistent with the densities and place types already approved in the Conceptual Master Plan,” BTI Vice President Kevin Mays said. “Osceola County and The City of St Cloud collaborated with Whidden and our development team throughout this approval process.”
The first residential neighborhood, located on the northern boundary of the community, would connect to a future extension of the Cross Prairie Parkway. BTI is under contract to buy 98 percent of that neighborhood and sought density approvals for 686 single family homes and 373 multifamily units (townhomes or apartments).
The Edgewater DRI expired in 2017, but the property has a Mixed Use zoning and land use classification. The county’s planning staff included language in its recommendation to require that N-1 neighborhoods include a mix of single-family and multifamily housing. “It is not intended to eliminate a mix of product and will provide a variety of housing product types to honor a true mixed use community.”
That statement is key because the property falls under the county’s Joint Planning Area with the city of St. Cloud, which means it will eventually be annexed into the city. The inclusion and location of multifamily housing was a major sticking point in April with some city council members during the final annexation and master plan approvals for another large mixed-use community, Center Lake Ranch. In that case, the developer had to reduce the unit count for apartments and agree to locate them only in the commercial center and in a single N-2 neighborhood, which typically has higher densities than N-1 pods.
St. Cloud planners also requested more details on the location schools, fire station and police substation sites. The developer is required to provide a high school site and a K-8 school site. City officials objected to the proposed location of the future high school in the Urban Center, but the county’s land development code requires that high schools in mixed-use zoning districts are located on major roadways with transit service. The only roadway in the East Lake Toho CMP that is identified as a transit corridor is the Cross Prairie Parkway.
Rj Whidden laid out a preliminary phasing plan that divides the community into seven phases over 15 years, with neighborhoods 1 and 2 in the first phase, to be completed by 2022. The final phase would be the urban center, and it’s scheduled for completion in 2034.
Adams said those type of specific details would be dealt with when the developer files a Preliminary Subdivision Plan and Site Development Plan. Other details, such as parks/recreation and approval of future boat lifts would also be dealt with at the PS/SDP stage.
Mays said BTI is still in its due diligence period and expects to close on the property later this summer. BTI, best known locally as the owner-developer of The Grove Resort & Spa. The company also owns 100 acres in Davenport’s Posner Park mixed-use development.