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Osceola County Developments

Divided St. Cloud City Council approves two new apartment complexes

Two separate developers received positive votes last week from the St. Cloud City Council for conditional use permits that would allow new apartment complexes to be constructed on land zoned for Highway Business on U.S. 192 and on Neptune Road.

Both projects would add at least 300 rental units to a city that hasn’t had a new market-rate apartment project completed in over a decade. Vice Mayor Linette Matheny was the sole dissenting vote on both requests.

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The first project is on U.S. 192 just east of Narcoossee Road. Atlanta-based Hathaway Group has a purchase contract on the 41.7 acres of timberland on U.S. 192 a block east of Narcoossee Road.

The conditional use would apply only to the northern 25 acres and would allow for a mid-rise community with 300 residential units spread among 12 apartment buildings. All of the land fronting on U.S. 192 would be reserved for future retail development, which Hathaway intends to develop separately.

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Shawn Hindle, vice president of Hanson Walter and Associates, quashed rumors about the height of the apartment buildings. He said the team from Hathaway designed the project that way in response to comments council members made regarding a proposed 4-story multifamily community on Narcoossee Road.

“When you had an apartment complex right in front of you at Lillian Lee and Narcoossee Road, there were a lot of comments about apartments — that you would prefer them to be on 192 and you would prefer them to be 3-story,” Hindle said. “So my client listened. He modified his plan. He made them all 3-story walk-up, and he acquired a piece of property on 192 where he has access.”

The land is owned by real estate investor and former county commissioner Randy Sheive, who purchased it in 2005 for $5 million. Brian Capo with FL Retail Advisors has the listing.

Hindle said he’s working with the Florida Department of Transportation and with Pulte Homes, which owns property on the south side of U.S. 192, to create a signalized intersection at Puffin Road where there’s already a median cut in the highway. Hathaway will be required to extend and widen Puffin Road to Lillian Lee Road, where it would serve as a primary entrance road to the proposed Lakeside at Satilla subdivision immediately to the north.

Homeowners living on Puffin Road pleaded with the city not to extend the road, but Hindle pointed out that it’s already part of the county’s Comprehensive Plan and the Narcoossee Overlay. Council members Kolby Urban and Keith Trace said the location was appropriate for apartments and the design plan included adequate buffers for the surrounding neighborhood. Mayor Nathan Blackwell agreed.

“We may not like growth, but we did a major study and we know growth is coming,” Blackwell said. “People are coming and with the growth that’s happening down in the Lillian Lee Road area, to me it would be incredibly unwise not to improve Puffin Road all the way to Lillian Lee and 192, and I certainly don’t think the city should have to do that later if the developer is able to do that.”

Delray Beach-based Preferred Realty is the contracted buyer for the second multifamily project, which is slated for a 25-acre parcel at Neptune Road and Sergent Graham Drive, along the back side of the Publix-anchored St. Cloud Station. Just across 13th Street (U.S. 192) is Walmart and Home Depot.

Nelson Mullins attorney Jo Thacker argued that in this case, 4-story apartment buildings are warranted because the site is already surrounded by existing commercial development. The site plan calls for a total of 368 units with gated entrances on both roadways.

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“This site is walkable to the Walmart to the Home Depot. The Lynx route is at the Walmart. You also have transportation improvements already planned,” she said, referring to the widening of Neptune Road and the new traffic light that will be added at Neptune and Sergent Graham. “So it actually meets a lot of elements of your comprehensive plan to have a walkable site for apartments to restaurants.”

Thacker said that permitting the four-story product at this location allows the developer to create more open space with enhanced landscaping. Amenities will include a pool, clubhouse, fitness center and recreation trails around the ponds.

Councilman Urban made the motion to approve the CU permit. “Again, just kind of reiterating that I think there’s a place for these type of projects, and this is another one where I believe it fits well because of the proximity to the different, already-existing commercial areas, as well as the schools.”

This would be the developer’s first multifamily project in Central Florida. Preferred Realty previously completed a 91,000-square-foot self-storage facility in Orlando.

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 FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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