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Local multifamily developer makes $12M investment in Osceola citrus groves

Citrus grower and rancher Henry C. Yates sold his 500-acres south of Osceola County's Alligator Lake for $12 million.
Citrus grower and rancher Henry C. Yates sold his 500-acres south of Osceola County's Alligator Lake for $12 million.(Osceola County Property Appraiser/staff edit)

A family investment vehicle led by longtime Winter Park multifamily developer Douglas Hoeksema paid $12 million on Friday in an off-market deal to acquire 500 acres of agricultural land on Osceola County’s Alligator Lake.

Hoeksema, a former managing director of Trammell Crow Residential for the state of Florida and current founder and CEO of Douglas Partners, bought the land in a cash deal with two relatives under the affiliate Triple H Ranch LLC.

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The seller was Henry C. Yates, and the land had been in his family for generations. It’s on the south side of Alligator Lake and straddles both sides of Hickory Tree Road. It also borders the canal that links Alligator Lake to Brick Lake.

“It’s a family legacy property. It meant a lot to them,” said Daryl Carter, president of Maury L. Carter and Associates, which represented both sides of the deal.

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Carter said he had been pursuing the listing from Yates for several years, and enlisted broker Clyde Wells, his Osceola County specialist, to assist with the research. Ultimately, another of his brokers, Perry Mason, brought the buyer.

“We had another property listed in Lake County, and he made an offer on that but they could never come to terms,” Carter said. “So he told Perry to show him what else we had. He was looking for a land deal."

Carter said Hoeksema was looking for a long-term investment with an interim agricultural use. The Hickory Tree Road corridor has drawn substantial residential development in recent years with large-scale projects like Twin Lakes and Hanover Lakes.

A project two-plus years in the making, learn what the land owner must do next to prep the site for development and sale.

Just a half-mile west of the Yates land, the owner of a 278-acre assemblage has already graded the land and had an approved site plan for a 545-home boating community called Buena Lago.

Alligator Lake is over 3,400 acres but just 11 feet deep. The Osceola County Board of Commissioners adopted an ordinance that creates a 1,000-foot buffer around the lake and prohibits large-scale residential developments that utilize boat lifts to access the lake.

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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