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Orlando developer planning new marina-anchored community on Osceola’s Lake Toho

The conceptual site plan calls for a mix of apartments and townhomes with a lakefront restaurant and marina with dry storage on Lake Tohopekaliga.
The conceptual site plan calls for a mix of apartments and townhomes with a lakefront restaurant and marina with dry storage on Lake Tohopekaliga. (GAI Consultants/Community Solutions Group)

Orlando developer Tony Benge is eyeing Osceola County’s East Lake Toho district for a new mixed-use project that would be anchored by a public marina and restaurant.

Benge Development has a pre-application meeting with the county’s Development Review Committee this week to discuss the potential site plan and uses for 22.7-acre site at 3140 Friars Cove Rd. The initial concept calls for a residential community with 280 multifamily units, 56 townhomes with a pool and clubhouse. A framework road would separate the residential section from the commercial uses along the lakefront.

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The plan by GAI Consultants/Community Solutions Group includes a restaurant with about a half dozen boat slips as well as a separate marina and dry storage with a boat ramp. Madden Moorhead & Stokes is the consulting civil engineer.

The project is immediately south of Fontana Lakes, one of five large master-planned and mixed-use communities that make up Osceola County’s 11,000-acre East Lake Toho element of the Comprehensive Plan. Fontana Lakes has an approved Concept Plan that also includes a marina on the cove. The marina would anchor a 248-unit condominium community. In total, the 677-acre project is entitled for 1,752 single-family homes and 1,200 multifamily units. The project is scheduled to break ground on Phase 1 in 2022.

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The property is home to six-bedroom estate with direct access to Lake Toho's Friars Cove. It was on the market for $6 million.
The property is home to six-bedroom estate with direct access to Lake Toho's Friars Cove. It was on the market for $6 million. (Premier Sotheby's International Realty)

Benge Development and Joint Venture partner The Collier Companies are behind a 77-acre mixed-use development on the Western Beltway in Apopka. The proposed Floridian Town Center would be developed over multiple phases, incorporating hundreds of apartments, an assisted living facility with up to 180 units, a 120-room hotel and over 200,000 square feet of commercial space. Tony Benge could not be reached for comment.

The Friars Cove land currently has one estate home with a dock and pole barn, but it has Mixed-Use zoning and was marketed as a development opportunity on LoopNet or as a secluded estate for a professional athlete by owner/listing agent Prescilla Vazquez with Premier Sotheby’s International Real Estate. She listed it at $5.99 million and confirmed it’s now pending.

Vazquez said the land is situated perfectly for a marina and has spectacular sunsets. “There is no other property around here that will have the view and access to the lake like this property,” she said. At over 35 square miles, Lake Tohopekaliga is Osceola County’s largest lake and is famous for its bass fishing. “I have seen some really huge fish caught in our cove,” she added.

Several of the new developments in the East Lake Toho and South Lake Toho pipeline call for improved boater access. The Concept Plan for Edgewater (Cross Prairie), now in development by BTI Partners, calls for boat lifts at Goblets Cove and on a canal that separates the community from BellaTera and runs into Friars Cove.

The 6,000-acre Green Island Ranch property, which is directly south of the Benge site, is under contract to Reed Berlinsky, president of St. Cloud’s Gentry Land Company, and Wheelock Street Capital. The sprawling ranch property features 2.5 miles of lake frontage, and it also has entitlements for a future marina.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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