The St. Cloud City Council approved earlier this month an annexation and rezoning of a 19-acre parcel slated for 50 high-end duplexes.
Gentry Land Company's Oaktree Pointe Villas was approved on Dec. 8, despite objections from some residents and a few council members that it wasn't appropriate for the 10th Street site, which extends to Lake Runnymede.
"In my opinion, lake property is usually a higher end piece of property than just duplexes," Councilman Donald Shroyer said before the vote. "I believe a piece of property of that magnitude could be better served as an estate area – nicer homes."
But developer Reed Berlinsky told GrowthSpotter these would be attached, fee-simple homes with prices starting at $220,000. The community was designed to appeal to buyers who want a single family home without the yard maintenance, since that would be provided by the HOA.
"We prefer to call them villas," he said Thursday. "It's not a low-end product. It's built for a specific buyer – we find that a lot of the townhomes – you sell the end units first. So we designed a villa that takes our best-selling end unit floorplans and puts them next to each other."
The target buyers are Millennials and empty nesters. Gentry will partner with A&M Homes, which is also building in the company's nearby Terra Vista community.
"They build a great home," Berlinsky said. "He's a local builder and very conscientious about the kind of home he builds."
Each villa will be built on a 70-foot lot and the developer will require alternating elevations, planner Lucie Ghioto said.
"They've taken particular care to vary the elevations – and not just the elevations themselves but also driveway placement, garage widths – things of that nature," she said. "They've also placed requirements that each elevation must alternate so you're not going to have five of the same building in a row. So it's really to avoid the monotony you can sometimes get with your typically cookie-cutter subdivision."
The PUD allows a minimum size of 1,350 square feet, but Berlinsky said the smallest unit would be around 1,600 square feet. Five floor plans will be offered, including a two-story model, but all will have three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The project was designated a Medium Density Residential land use, which allows up to 8 units per acre. But the city capped the density at 5.25 units per acre as part of the annexation agreement and PUD.
Planning and Zoning Manager Andre Anderson said Oaktree Pointe would have higher parking requirements and added recreational space. The developer also pledged to protect an existing mature oak canopy. "This was, in our opinion, a compromise and good transition," he said.
Anderson said Gentry has already filed a Preliminary Subdivision Plan (PSP), which is scheduled for the Dec. 29 Development Review Committee.
Berlinsky said he hopes to have his approvals in place to start construction in the spring and deliver the first units in First Quarter 2018.