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DIX Development takes reins of St. Cloud project approved for over 1,200 homes

This is the view of the Roan Bridge property looking north toward downtown St. Cloud and East Lake Tohopekaliga.
This is the view of the Roan Bridge property looking north toward downtown St. Cloud and East Lake Tohopekaliga. (Dix Development)

Lake Mary-based DIX Development has a purchase contract on a 17-parcel assemblage in St. Cloud and is prepping it for construction later this year for a community with more than 1,200 homes.

The 286 acres of ranch land on Old Hickory Tree Road, less than a mile south of U.S. 192, is known as the Roan Bridge assemblage. The owners successfully annexed into the City of St. Cloud and won approval for Mixed-Use Planned Unit Development zoning in 2017. The zoning entitles the property for 625 detached single family homes and 599 townhomes or multifamily units.

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Clay Taylor, a senior advisor with SVN Saunders Real Estate, said Dix Development beat out several bidders for the property, which is priced at nearly $84,000 per acre. It’s in an area of St. Cloud that is booming with new residential construction.

St. Cloud's City Council approved the Conceptual Master Plan for Roan Bridge PUD in 2017. The areas shown in pink are designated for a K-8 school and fire station. The yellow and orange represent residential development, while the blocks in red are slated for commercial development.
St. Cloud's City Council approved the Conceptual Master Plan for Roan Bridge PUD in 2017. The areas shown in pink are designated for a K-8 school and fire station. The yellow and orange represent residential development, while the blocks in red are slated for commercial development. (City of St. Cloud)

“There was definitely a lot of competition for the site,” Taylor told GrowthSpotter. “It was probably on the market for about three months, and the asking price was $22.5 million. There were three very solid offers on the table, and a couple of others that were circling around.”

James Dicks, president of Dix Development, has assembled a team to move the estimated $400 million project across the finish line. “We’re pretty much full-speed ahead,” he said.

Dicks said he named Javier Omana of CPH Inc., a Sanford-based engineering firm, as manager and land planner for the Roan Bridge project.

The project already has an approved Conceptual Master Plan. Now the Dix team is designing the Concept Plan and Preliminary Subdivision Plan with the goal to close on the property in August and break ground immediately. Dicks said his company would serve as master developer, putting in the two major spine roads, drainage and utilities, with stub outs to the development pods.

This view looking south shows the property with Eastern Avenue on the right and Nolte Road at the top of the frame.
This view looking south shows the property with Eastern Avenue on the right and Nolte Road at the top of the frame. (Dix Development)

“The project is sold out — minus the commercial,” Dicks said. “We have deals in place with three homebuilders.”

The Roan Bridge PUD provides for a gathering area with 70,000 square feet of retail and 30,000 square feet office space topped with 96 condos “along four city blocks in the heart of the project,” Dicks said.

The site is directly across the street from Hickory Tree Elementary, but the PUD calls for the developer to provide a site for a new K-8 school on 19th Street. The city also will build a new fire station within the Roan Bridge district at the corner of 19th Street and Old Hickory Tree Road.

“There will be 1.5 million square feet of civic space,” Dicks said, adding that 26 acres have been set aside for a K-8 school with additional acreage for a new city fire station.

Dicks also has financial and legal advisers working with Dix to bring forward an ordinance to establish a community development district. In fact, since they got the property under contract last fall, he hasn’t taken his foot off the gas.

“We’re really excited about the next 24-36 months. We don’t see really any changes in our business,” Dicks said, noting that low interest rates and homebuyer demand will continue to boost sales in the Orlando market.

Dix is also the developer behind the proposed Vive on Eola mixed-use residential tower in downtown Orlando.

“You know, we’re seeing a mass exodus from many states north of us, and in Florida we’re seeing a tremendous amount of growth with a governor who, we feel, is trying to keep things open,” he said. “I think Florida is going to see a tremendous economic impact from that. We’re already probably ahead of most, but the bottom line is when you see 21 inches of snow dumped in New England, Florida looks like a pretty good place to live.”

The Roan Bridge PUD abuts the Hickory Tree community now being developed by Lennar Homes, where the builder introduced and quickly sold out of a new limited product line featuring affordable and attainable homes all priced below $235,000.

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Just south of Nolte Road, Taylor Morrison and Richmond American Homes are awaiting final permits to start building in the final phases of Southern Pines, where they purchased a combined 315 lots last summer.

American Homes 4 Rent, the nation’s largest purpose-built rental home owner-operator, will build 222 rental homes in Sky Lakes less than a mile away in the former St. Cloud Airfield property on Michigan Avenue.

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 Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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