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Atlanta-based developer eyeing Kissimmee site for new apartments

Varden Capital Partners is under contract to buy this 15-acre site, which has a future land use of High Density Residential.
Varden Capital Partners is under contract to buy this 15-acre site, which has a future land use of High Density Residential. (Osceola County)

Atlanta-based Varden Capital Partners, which specializes in buying and renovating value-add apartment communities, is looking to enter the Central Florida market with a site just off Florida’s Turnpike exit at U.S. 192 in Kissimmee.

Varden President Trace McCreary recently met with Osceola County’s planning staff to review the entitlements for a 15-acre site on Shady Lane just north of Walden Park apartments. McCreary said his firm is under contract to buy the property, which is in the Kyng’s Heath Planned Development.

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The PD was originally approved for 580 multifamily units. Walden Park was built in 2002 and has 300 units. It was built with a stub-out showing a future cross access to the adjacent lot.

McCreary said he’s hoping to complete the remaining 280 multifamily units allowed in the PD. The parcel has a High Density Residential future land use, which allows up to 18 units per acre. The site lies in the Tech Transitional Zone of the E192 Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) District. That zone has some of the strictest building requirements in the design ordinance.

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The Shady Lane/Cross Prairie Parkway corridor is approved for more apartment development within the Kyng's Heath and Fish Lake planned developments.
The Shady Lane/Cross Prairie Parkway corridor is approved for more apartment development within the Kyng's Heath and Fish Lake planned developments. (Osceola County Property Appraiser)

McCreary was joined by his GC partner, Steven Whitworth from Merrett. He declined an interview request from GrowthSpotter.

Varden Capital bought its first multifamily property in 2011 in Jacksonville. Since then, it has acquired over 70 apartment communities with more than 20,000 units in the Southeast. The company has renovated and sold more than half of those units, according to its website. Varden recently expanded into new construction and has one project completed and five in development, including one in Yulee, Florida.

The Kyng’s Heath lot was previously submitted to Florida Housing Finance Corporation as a potential affordable housing site. In 2016, Tampa-based Southport Financial Services had applied for Low Income Housing Tax Credits to develop 96 units of affordable family housing on about 8 acres of the property.

The Verano Apartments, built in 2008, are right across the street.

Nearby, The Falcone Group had sought permits from Osceola County for a 330-unit apartment community within the Fish Lake Planned Development on Cross Prairie Parkway at Partin Settlement Road. Falcone was looking to build workforce housing there under its Momentum brand but the project fell out of contract.

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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