South Florida developer planning 451-home subdivision in St. Cloud

South Florida-based BBX Capital is in discussions with several local homebuilders for a 451-home subdivision next to Gramercy Farms in St. Cloud.

BBX won approval this month from the St. Cloud City Council for its Preliminary Subdivision Plan for the "Old Hickory" Planned Unit Development (PUD). Managing Director Bruce J. Parker told GrowthSpotter he expects the permitting process to take another nine months, with the first lots to be delivered in 2019.

"We might develop it ourselves and sell the lots, or we might find a builder who wants to come in and do the whole project," he said on Friday. "We might just do the first 100 lots. But there's nothing stopping us from accelerating the other phases. It depends on who the builder is." 

Old Hickory comprises nearly 176 acres on both sides of Nolte Road and west of Hickory Tree Road. The southern boundary abuts the Royal St. Cloud Golf Links. The project had an underlying land use of Medium Density Residential, which would have allowed a maximum of 750 units.

Parker said BBX designed the project as a residential subdivision partly as a concession to city officials who want to attract high-value development to the city. The lot makeup primarily consists of 50-foot lots (273). The rest are 60-foot wide. 

"They want to grow their tax base," Parker said. "You're not going to get a bigger or more expensive home on a 60-foot lot than you do on a 50-foot lot."

The developer also structured the timing and phasing of the community with deference to city officials. The 16-acre tract on the north side of Nolte Road is currently designated as Phase 4 in the PSP, with 29 lots. 

"On the north side of the road, they really want to see commercial and retail development there," Parker said. "We didn't really see the demand for it now."

He said making that parcel the last phase gives BBX the flexibility to amend the PUD if demand materializes over the next few years.

Some notable developments along the Hickory Tree Road corridor include the sprawling Twin Lakes active adult community, Hanover Lakes, Parkfield and the Roan Bridge Mixed-Use PUD.

BBX acquired the project as a bank-owned asset in 2010 when the company purchased BankAtlantic. The previous owner/developer had donated 15 acres to the School District of Osceola County for an elementary school site. The district plans to open Hickory Tree Elementary in time for the 2021/22 school year.

The amenities center is planned for Phase 2, and it would likely include a community pool, clubhouse and tennis courts. The neighborhood also had multiple trails connecting to the future school and to the neighboring Gramercy Farms community.

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