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Osceola County Developments

Bronson family seeks buyer for South Lake Toho ranchlands

One of Osceola’s pioneer cattle ranching families has put its property south of Lake Tohopekaliga on the market.

The Bronsons, who have raised cattle in the Kissimmee valley for seven generations, are looking for the best offer for their 3,229 acres. The limited family partnership engaged Dean Saunders and Dusty Calderon with SVN Sauders Ralston Dantzler — the same duo who sold the neighboring Green Island Ranch in December— to market the property.

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“We put it out about six weeks ago — an open call for offers,” Saunders said. The deadline to submit is June 24, but the sellers reserve the right to extend the deadline, he said. “We’ll request everybody to respond by the end so we can have a meaningful discussion about what our options are.”

One feature that makes the land attractive for future development is that 88% of the land is high and dry. The bulk of the property, which has been used as grazing pastures, is immediately south of Green Island Ranch but it also extends west of the ranch and north along the canal linking Lake Tohopekaliga to Lake Cypress, encompassing a mile of lake frontage.

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It also falls within the South Lake Toho Element of Osceola’s Comprehensive Plan, so it comes with Mixed-Use zoning and entitlements for nearly 6,500 homes. The South Lake Toho Conceptual Master Plan envisions the future Southport Connector toll road bisecting the property and connecting it to a future Turnpike interchange.

“It’s on the southern end of where Osceola wants to have development,” Saunders said. “So you’re going to have the interchange at the Turnpike that will get built, and people living there will be able to just jump on the Turnpike and get to where they need to go pretty rapidly.”

Another function of the toll road is that it divides the property into a northern portion, which is designated for residential mixed-use, and a southern portion, which is set apart as its own special district with entitlements for 2.8 million square feet of industrial and warehouse uses.

Saunders said he’s had calls from prospective buyers who were interested just in the industrial area. The Bronsons would prefer a single buyer but are listening to all offers.

“I think the family would consider whatever makes sense economically,” Saunders said. “Would they like to have cash in hand and be done get paid a whole bunch of money upfront and be done in 30 days? Absolutely, but that’s not the likely outcome.

“I think they’re expressing a willingness to be creative and look at whatever makes sense, whether it be one person or two or three, as long as everybody can be protected,” he said.

The Central Florida Expressway Authority funded the Preliminary Development & Environment Study (PD&E) for the Southport Connector, but it is not in the agency’s five-year work program. So even with the entitlements, the prospective buyer would likely be in the same position as the owners of Green Island Ranch — starting development on the small section of the property that’s currently accessible by Canoe Creek Road.

St. Cloud’s Gentry Land Company and Wheelock Street Capital paid $150 million, or roughly $25,000/acre, for the Green Island Ranch, which is nearly twice the size of the Bronson ranch. The Green Island developers submitted a Concept Plan for the four neighborhoods east of Florida’s Turnpike, known as the Canoe Creek Neighborhoods (CCN) 1-4, in February.

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The offering contains 181 acres east of the Turnpike and immediately south of Green Island’s first four neighborhoods, but most of that appears to be right-of-way for the future toll road and interchange. And while the offering has significant lake frontage, the conceptual master plan adopted in 2018 shows that area and both sides of the canal being utilized exclusively for stormwater retention.

“I would anticipate that at some point, somebody — a master developer — might want to have a conversation with the county if they have a different vision,” Saunders said. “That’s always to be expected. I think from talking to the county, they would anticipate that there would be discussions about, maybe, tweaking it or moving things around.”

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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