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Avex Homes works toward finalizing deal with St. Cloud for Stevens Plantation North

Avex Homes' phasing plan for Stevens Plantation would start from the south with a single family detached home subdivision (blue).
Avex Homes' phasing plan for Stevens Plantation would start from the south with a single family detached home subdivision (blue). (Heidt Design)

After getting an extension on the due diligence period for its $4.65 million purchase contract, Avex Homes will go before St. Cloud’s City Council later the month to seal the deal for the Stevens Plantation North property on Canoe Creek Road.

Avex was one of seven developers that bid for the 143-acre site and was selected by a 4-1 vote in early March. The original purchase contract allowed for a 90-day inspection period, but the developer and city council agreed to two extensions because of COVID-19 related delays. The site also had more wetlands than were originally disclosed, which led to the need for additional environmental and engineering work.

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The close the deal, Avex Homes must win the city council approval for a Concept Plan and master site plan that creates a vibrant mixed-use district.

Developers say there is strong consumer demand in metro Orlando for purpose-built rental communities, but the product may not be viable here because of the high pre-construction costs and impact fees.

“We have a public hearing on Oct. 24 where the conceptual plan will be considered,” Avex President Eric Marks said. He and his team from Heidt Design met Thursday with the city’s Development Review Committee to review the submitted plans.

Marks told GrowthSpotter the plan adheres to the vision he presented to the council back in March, which 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 multifamily units.

Avex considered two different buildout scenarios that differed on the breakdown of single family detached homes and attached units, which could be townhomes, condos or duplexes. Marks said the chose the scenario with 188 detached homes and 142 attached townhomes. The eliminated plan would have called for 107 detached homes and 274 attached homes.

Construction will start in the next 20 days, and model homes should be open within 10 months.

“The primary difference between the two was whether we were going to do a Build-for-Rent neighborhood,” Marks said.

This was the second time Avex has strongly considered entering the BFR market, but in both cases the homebuilder chose to go the traditional route. Marks said they considered building more attached BFR units to lower the school impact fees, but decided the project wasn’t viable.

Even though the selected plan will have more detached homes, Marks said Avex would utilize Traditional Neighborhood Design methods to create a compact, walkable neighborhood. That calls for a mix of smaller lot sizes and a variety of housing products. The plan calls for a minimum lot size of 32 x 100 feet. Townhomes could be just 18-feet wide, which can only accommodate a 1-car garage.

Avex proposes to construct the Stevens Plantation project in six phases, beginning with the 107-lot single family neighborhood south of Fertic Drive. Phase 2 would include most of the the townhomes and the new connector road between Canoe Creek and Budinger Avenue. The TND neighborhood would be next with 81 detached homes.

The commercial lots, which include the mixed-use community center, would be built in the final two phases.

If the deal with St. Cloud closes, it would be Avex Homes' third land acquisition in Osceola County since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The homebuilder is actively building in Wiregrass on Jack Brack Road, and it has projects in the pipeline, such as Osceola Village Center.

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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