South Florida-based developer BTI Partners doubled its land holdings in Osceola’s East Lake Toho district after closing on the purchase of nearly 1,200 acres that comprise the balance of the former Edgewater DRI.
The deal follows BTI’s 2019 acquisition of the Edgewater East property for $40 million and gives the developer control of roughly 2,600 acres with Mixed-Use zoning and entitlements for nearly 9,000 residential units. BTI rebranded the Edgewater East project Crossprairie and is developing the first phase, where it will deliver finished lots this year to a trio of homebuilders: Meritage, Jones Homes and M/I Homes.
“This transaction highlights BTI Partners’ appetite for land in Central Florida,” CEO Noah Breakstone said. “We are actively pursuing land acquisition opportunities across the state. As a master land developer, we plan to develop the site’s infrastructure and supply developers with ready-to-build land so they can build homes to address Florida’s severe housing shortage.”
Breakstone said the community would be “centered around Osceola County’s beautiful natural resources,” including the eastern shoreline of Lake Tohopekaliga and its surrounding wetlands. Edgewater West will be a separate community designed to complement Crossprairie, where homebuilder demand actually exceeded what BTI could supply.
Earlier this month, Osceola County approved the Concept Plan (CP) for Edgewater West with a development program that creates four neighborhoods with a combined 2,530 single-family homes and 956 multifamily units. The plan also creates a new K-8 school site and allows for up to 120,000 square feet of both office and commercial space in four separate neighborhood centers.
Designed by Rj Whidden & Associates, the CP creates a large man-made lake with a boat lift on Goblets Cove that will give residents access to Lake Tohopekaliga. It also lays the groundwork for a new framework street that will connect the Edgewater West neighborhoods to East neighborhoods in Crossprairie. The project is divided into seven phases, with phase 1 construction beginning along that connecting road in 2023.
“In recent years, Central Florida has been experiencing tremendous job and population growth,” Breakstone said. “Bringing new homes to this submarket will help increase supply and relieve pressure on home prices in a community that is in close proximity to job centers.”
Daryl Carter and Clyde Wells with Maury L. Carter & Associates represented the sellers, members of the Cecil E. Whaley Jr. family, who have ranched the land for generations. “It feels fantastic to serve their family — folks who have invested their blood, sweat, and tears in the county. It was a privilege to represent them,” Carter said.
BTI expects to complete the construction of the Cross Prairie Parkway, the main road traversing Crossprairie, in the spring. Once a new Turnpike interchange to serve the area is completed in 2026, BTI will begin construction of the urban center in the northern portion of the community. The urban center will be home to 1 million square feet of commercial space, 1.9 million square feet of office space and 600 hotel rooms.
The BTI deal follows a string of high-dollar land transactions in Osceola County last month. In December, Pulte Homes paid $33 million for the final two residential phases of the Tohoqua master-planned community, which is just north of Crossprairie’s urban center. Just before Christmas, St. Cloud’s Gentry Land Company and Wheelock Street Capital paid $150 million for the nearly 6,000-acre Green Island Ranch property south of Lake Toho.
South of Edgewater, Fontana Lakes is another master-planned community approved for 1,752 single-family homes, 1,200 multifamily units and 170,000 square feet of office space. The 677-acre mixed-use development also would have a private marina on Lake Toho’s Goblets Cove. In March 2021, owner Jeff Fuqua applied for mass grading permits and purchased mitigation credits for the community.
Whaley Platt and Bella Terra are also large master-planned communities in the county’s East Lake Toho element that have approved construction plans. Both are just south of Kissimmee Park Road and stretch down to Lake Toho. Bella Terra is approved for 1,714 homes on 664 acres, while the Whaley Platt, land which is under contract to Metro Development Group, would add another 2,722 dwelling units.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Noah Breakstone is CEO of BTI Partners. This article has been updated to correct his title.