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Osceola's BK Ranch preps for mid-2017 construction with new developer

The owners of BK Ranch are prepping th 961-acre mixed-use project for construction in mid-2017. The project will have a new developer, and it no longer includes the 399-acre Brown parcel to the east that was slated for an employment center.
The owners of BK Ranch are prepping th 961-acre mixed-use project for construction in mid-2017. The project will have a new developer, and it no longer includes the 399-acre Brown parcel to the east that was slated for an employment center. (Osceola County)

Entitlement specialist IBI Group will file permits this month to establish a mixed-use district on the 961-acre BK Ranch in Osceola's Four Corners community.

IBI's Richard Wohlfarth last week filed an application with the South Florida Water Management District for mass grading of the project, which is located 1.3 miles west of the new Poinciana SunRail station and about a mile east of Reunion Resort. Wohlfarth told GrowthSpotter he would submit a comprehensive plan amendment (CPA) and rezoning application to Mixed-Use District with the county before the end of the year.

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"We're excited about the project," he said. "We have meetings early next week, and we'll have a package turned over to the county. We're hoping to have a new plan before Christmas and get on the DRC agenda in January."

The project has undergone significant changes over the last several months. Jacksonville-based GreenPointe Communities dropped out as developer, after initially pursuing the property in August of last year.

Developer says the project just east of Poinciana SunRail station will have a $1 billion economic impact for Osceola County.

"We're working with the owners, Bob Kingsland and the Penham family, to position the property and file their submissions," Wohlfarth said. "Ultimately, they will bring in a builder or builders to do the project. We're already in negotiations with a bunch of people now, and we're very comfortable in the level of interest. There is a contract agreement on it now to purchase the entire property."

The other big change is that the project no longer includes the 399-acre parcel to the east that was zoned for employment commercial and high-density residential. That parcel, known as the Brown Estate parcel, is a mere 800 feet west of the SunRail station.

Wohlfarth said even though the BK Ranch site isn't contiguous to SunRail, it is on a designated multimodal corridor. So the project will be designed utilizing Transit Oriented Design (TOD) principles. "Being as close as we are to the train station, this is one of the rare opportunities to do a true TOD project," he said.

The concept plan identifies the project's transit and walkability characteristics by means of interconnected streets, multiple routes, on-street parking and pedestrian-friendly public community spaces.

The master plan also sets aside 21 acres for a public park and K-8 school, plus 26 acres for a community center entitled for 50,000 square feet of commercial space.

Up to 2,200 acres could be developed for mixed-use that neighbors a future SunRail Poinciana station.

At full buildout, the community is projected to have 811 single-family detached homes and 1,399 townhomes or apartments for a total population of 6,190 residents.  Phase 1 would include between 300 and 500 units.

"If everything seems to be going according to schedule, we'll get on the Commission agenda in February," Wohlfarth said. "Our plan is to start heavy design work in February and have all our our approvals in April or May. The plan is to break ground in June."

Lee Friedman, broker for Keller Williams Commercial, represents the buyer. He said the new developer envisions the community as a true transit oriented community.

"It will be fashioned after Reunion and Celebration," he said. "Both are communities with mixed use and mixed development as well as commercial. The lakefront commercial space in this community will be double the size of Celebration."

This story and headline have been updated to more accurately describe the location of the project and to include comments from the buyer's agent.

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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