One of the nation’s top developers of student housing launched a new single-family build-to-rent division this year and is launching it in the Orlando market.
Athens, Georgia-based Landmark Properties paid $10.5 million this week for the 23-acre Planned Development already approved for 208 BTR cottages. Landmark will be taking over the residential portion of the mixed-use project that previously was under contract to Christopher Todd Communities.
Green Slate Land & Development President Ike Cottle won the PD zoning approval from Osceola County’s Board of County Commissioners in December 2021. “The PD is just the zoning, but it was very specific, so they’re going to follow that PD to the best of their abilities,” Cottle said.
The development plan calls for 40 one-bedroom attached units and 128 two-bedroom detached units, and all will have a private backyard. A large amenity center with a pool and clubhouse will be at the center of the community.
Landmark currently has a portfolio of 80 student housing communities across the U.S., including here in Orlando. In January, CEO Wes Rogers announced the company’s expansion into the BTR and conventional multifamily development. The company already has two multifamily projects in development that it acquired through joint ventures with Atlanta-based Haven Communities.
Blair Sweeney, managing director for Landmark’s BTR development confirmed this was the first transaction the company has closed. “We plan to purchase approximately four more development sites and start construction of all of them before the end of the year,” he told GrowthSpotter. “We are bullish on Florida and hope that we will be able to identify additional opportunities there.”
Sweeney said Landmark expects to file a Site Development Plan this summer and begin construction before the end of the year. The company is a fully integrated real estate and development firm, so it was act as its own general contractor. He said the company architects recently began the design process for the cottages.
Cottle said Landmark is uniquely positioned to enter the single-family BTR industry because of its experience with student housing. “They were doing horizontal apartments before horizontal apartments were a thing,” he said.
Cheree Fairley, a broker for AFR Commercial Real Estate in Fort Lauderdale, represented the sellers in the $8 million deal with Green Slate, who will retain and develop the commercial portion of the project. Jill Rose with Bishop Beale Duncan closed the deal between Green Slate and Landmark for the BTR community.
Alabama-based Capstone Communities was one of the first student housing developers to expand into the BTR space. The company scoped out locations in Davenport back in 2020 before choosing to enter the Florida market with its Cottages of Daytona Beach. That project is now in its initial lease-up.
Green Slate will retain a little over 4 acres fronting on Narcoosee Road and will build up to 50,000 square feet of commercial uses. Cottle said the lease-up is being handled by the retail team at Colliers International. The project was designed to comply with the Narcoossee Overlay, but it could accommodate a small grocery store, fitness center or junior anchor plus inline retail.
“There is grocery potential there, but the maximum square footage of a building is 20,000 square feet, so it needs to be a boutique or specialty grocer,” Cottle said. “Probably a specialty grocer since we know Publix is going in up the street with Daryl Carter.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated with comments from the developer.