Lennar Homes paid $16.7 million last week for a major expansion of its ChampionsGate resort community that had been in the works for two years and another $8.1 million on a new deal in St. Cloud that it kept under wraps.
The ChampionsGate expansion comprises 180 acres north of Bella Citta Boulevard and spans both sides of the future Westside Boulevard extension. Lennar is actively developing and selling new phases of its ChampionsGate Country Club, a mix of residential and vacation homes as well as short-term rental condos.
The land acquired on June 12, known as the Fox property, would give the builder another 120 homesites for its country club expansion on lots ranging in size from 40 to 80 feet wide, based on a conceptual plan filed with the county in 2018. All of the land east of Westside Boulevard is designated for the country club.
The land west of Westside Boulevard would be a short-term rental community dubbed “The Retreat.” It would have a total of 310 homes, townhomes and condos built in two phases, plus an amenity center and private park. Here, also, the lot sizes would vary from 40 feet to 80 feet in width.
Jason Toll, broker with NAI Realvest, brokered the sale on behalf the Fox family. “This acquisition by Lennar will serve as a continuation of its highly successful ChampionsGate project,” he said.
Site development will get underway this summer. The Fox property provides an east-west connection between that country club project now underway and the future Westside Boulevard extension. Lennar would be required to build the four-lane, divided boulevard from Bella Citta through the middle of the Fox South land, but it would be eligible for substantial mobility fee credits.
The second major Osceola County acquisition on June 13, scooping up 176 acres in St. Cloud next to Gramercy Farms. Lennar Orlando Division President Brock Nicholas told GrowthSpotter site development would commence in July with models opening in Spring 2020.
The seller was South Florida-based BBX Capital, which led the site through permitting for last year with city for a 451 subdivision called “Old Hickory.”
Old Hickory spans both sides of Nolte Road and is west of Hickory Tree Road. The southern boundary abuts the Royal St. Cloud Golf Links. The project had an underlying land use of Medium Density Residential, which would have allowed a maximum of 750 units. BBX Managing Director Bruce J. Parker rezoned it to Planned Unit Development.
In a 2018 interview Parker told GrowthSpotter that BBX designed the project as a residential subdivision partly as a concession to city officials who want to attract high-value development to the city. The lot makeup primarily consists of 50-foot lots (273). The rest are 60-foot wide.
BBX acquired the project as a bank-owned asset in 2010 when the company purchased BankAtlantic. The previous owner/developer had donated 15 acres to the School District of Osceola County for an elementary school site. The district plans to open Hickory Tree Elementary in time for the 2021/22 school year.
The amenities center is planned for Phase 2, and it would likely include a community pool, clubhouse and tennis courts. The neighborhood also had multiple trails connecting to the future school and to the neighboring Gramercy Farms community.