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St. Cloud’s Canoe Creek land still draws interest, but lower offers

This is the conceptual master plan for mixed-use development called The Galleria at Canoe Creek that was approved in 2018. It combines retail and government uses on the main road frontage with a variety of residential housing types and offices behind them.
This is the conceptual master plan for mixed-use development called The Galleria at Canoe Creek that was approved in 2018. It combines retail and government uses on the main road frontage with a variety of residential housing types and offices behind them. (Dix.Hite+Partners)

The St. Cloud City Council may have cost itself a million dollars or more by canceling the land sale of the Stevens Plantation North property at the last minute and putting the bid back on the street for the third time in three years.

The council was set to approve a $6.25 million contract to sell nearly 200 acres of land along Canoe Creek Road to local developer Reed Berlinsky and his firm Equity Investments/Gentry Land. But council members pulled the plug before the final vote in January when Berlinsky refused to raise his purchase price by $50,000 and exclude 10 acres from the purchase.

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The council removed the 56 acres in the northeast corner, electing to keep it as a preferred future site for a law enforcement complex. The latest offering included the 142-acre Stevens North property and an option for a 5-acre mitigation site. It still drew seven bids, including most of the builders who submitted bids in 2019, but this time they were at substantially lower prices.

The City Council is scheduled to consider the bids Thursday evening. David Calcanis from Colliers International is the city’s broker.

Local developer Reed Berlinsky submitted this revised concept plan for the 142 acre Stevens Plantation North land along St. Cloud's Canoe Creek Road.
Local developer Reed Berlinsky submitted this revised concept plan for the 142 acre Stevens Plantation North land along St. Cloud's Canoe Creek Road. (Equity Investments)

Berlinsky dropped his purchase price to $3.75 million, well below the highest offer of $5.1 million from Hanover Capital Partners. But council members may still give the Equity bid serious consideration because it sets aside 11 acres for a commercial center and 8.8 acres for parks.

Several of the bidders provided little to no detail about their future plans for the property, which is zoned for mixed-use development. Those included Hanover, D.R. Horton ($4.1M) and Titan Properties ($4.6M). They will have an opportunity to present a development concept to the council during the Stevens Plantation Dependent Special District meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Avex Homes, one of the finalists in the last go-round, came back with a $4.65 million offer and a significantly scaled down proposal. This time the builder capped the number of single family homes and townhomes at 380 units with 3 acres of parks, 50,000 square feet of commercial space and just 100 apartments.

Reader Communities entered the bidding for the first time, teamed with LRK, offering $3 million for the property. The developer emphasized its new urbanist credentials with past experience in Celebration and Baldwin Park. But the concept plan submitted did not include any commercial or multifamily uses.

This conceptual plan by Reader Communities would have 105 townhomes, 45 bungalow homes and 160 standard detached homes.
This conceptual plan by Reader Communities would have 105 townhomes, 45 bungalow homes and 160 standard detached homes. (LRK)

“We would seek an entitlement cap of roughly 350 residential units in order to create a single-family home and townhome community which incorporates elements of traditional neighborhood design. We see the opportunity to create a walkable infill community which will utilize and enhance the existing commercial, civic, and other various nearby amenities,” Jeff Reader wrote.

In a bit of a surprise move, Telesis Services renewed its offer to build the same mixed-use Galleria development that won support from the council in 2018. The purchase price would be $5 million – down from the $8.5 million offered two years ago – and it would be contingent on the city including the 56 acres of city-owned property that was removed from the offering. Telesis would dedicate a 16-acre pad ready site at the southeast corner for a future law enforcement center.

Telesis VP Scott Banta worked closely with city leaders to develop and win approval for a master plan for the full 200 acres, but he failed to close on the property.

The plan for “Galleria at Canoe Creek” included two hotel pads, structured parking and two 300-unit apartment complexes. The development plan also included 120 townhomes, an office building site, a self-storage site, multi-tenant retail and six outparcels fronting Canoe Creek Road. The plan also had multiple lakes and six miles of nature trails throughout the project linking it to Peghorn Nature Park and St. Cloud Elementary School.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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