More than a year after Toronto-based Kothari Group filed plans to abandon the languishing Oaks National Golf Course in Kissimmee and build apartments on the land, the developer is back with a new plan.
The owner had applied for a major amendment to The Oaks Planned Development that would have entitled the property for another 587 residential units. The bulk of the entitlements would have added 473 multifamily units in the center of the community, where the clubhouse, parking lot and driving range sit today.
The 3-story apartment buildings would have been adjacent to the existing condominiums. Other elements of the plan included a 50-unit, fee-simple townhouse community and a commercial lot on John Young Parkway, while a major portion of the golf course acreage would be deeded to the HOA as recreation space.
But neighborhood opposition stalled the plan, and Kothari President Anupan Kothari sought a different approach. In January, he filed a new PD amendment focusing on single-family Build-to-Rent products, and he will present the plan Wednesday evening in a virtual community meeting.
The virtual meeting will be followed by an in-person community workshop on May 12 at Pleasant Hill Elementary School.
Kothari brought in EDEN Living, a joint venture formed last year by Miami-based apartment developer EDEN Multifamily and America’s Capital Partners to capitalize on the fast-growing Built-to-Rent sector in Florida and other major markets in the Southeast. EDEN Living builds and operates a BTR product known as horizontal apartments, which consists of townhomes, duplexes and cottages built in clusters on a single plat. The company has three projects under construction now in Florida, but this is the first in the greater Orlando market.
Kothari and EDEN are proposing to build up to 400 single-family rental homes on 35-acre central area of The Oaks that currently houses the golf course’s driving range and clubhouse. The community would be gated, and rental units in EDEN Preserve at the Oaks would range in size from 700 to 1,400 square feet.
EDEN President Jay Jacobson said they would build a row of 2-story townhomes along the property line adjacent to the Osprey Cove condos, which are also two stories. The townhomes would be offered in 2- and 3-bedroom floorplans, and all units would have a 1-car garage with parking for an additional vehicle in the driveway.
“The 2-story townhomes that we develop and build are a smaller footprint,” Jacobson said. “We build 1,200 to 1,400-square foot townhomes. We don’t build 2,000-square feet.”
The rest of the development would consist of single-story 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom cottages built in clusters of five, with communal parking.
Jacky Sasson, director of land acquisition, said the unique arrangement creates more privacy for residents because the front doors are situated on opposite ends of the homes.
“So when you’re going into your unit, you’re really not going into your front door where your neighbor has a front door right next to yours,” Sasson said. “So your unit is next to someone else’s, but the entrances are in completely different areas.”
In addition, each townhouse and cottage would have a private, fenced backyard maintained by the company. The community will have a dog park, walking trails and a large clubhouse with a pool, fitness center, leasing office, outdoor grilling area and co-working space.
“The amenities are really similar to your Class A traditional apartment community,” Sasson said.
The new PD amendment submitted by RVi Planning + Landscape Architecture retains the proposal to build 50 fee-simple townhomes on six acres at the north end of the golf course. The townhomes would not border any existing homes in The Oaks community.
It also retains the 2.5-acre future development site on John Young Parkway. In all, it would transition about 107 acres of the existing golf course into either new infill development or open space. A website created by RVi notes that Kothari Group has offered to donate 84 acres (58 acres in Osceola County and 27 acres in the City of Kissimmee) to The Oaks community to be preserved as open space.