Horizontal construction is well underway on Phase 1 of Tohoqua in Osceola County. Model homes will be started before the end of the year.
Winter Park-based developer Bob Secrist has tweaked the Master Plan for his 785-acre Tohoqua project in Osceola County to capitalize on its proximity to NeoCity research park, envisioning a residential hub for high-tech workers.
"What sets us apart is the emphasis on education in this Master Plan," planning consultant Andre Vidrine told GrowthSpotter.The former head of Toll Brothers, Vidrine is now working with Secrist on Tohoqua.
"We're going to have a K-12 STEM charter school that will be unique in this market," he said on Tuesday. "It gives us the opportunity to grow future high-tech workforce right here in Osceola County."
The plan is to have the STEM charter school completed in time to open for the 2019 school year.
Secrist also has a developer agreement with Osceola County Schools to donate 20 acres for a K-8 school and a 45-acre high school site within Tohoqua. Those schools are projected to open within 10 years based on population growth, but neither is currently funded, according to the district.
The 785 acres border Neptune Road and the Florida Turnpike. The former DRI is entitled for 2,500 homes and townhomes and 700 multifamily units, plus 613,000 square feet of commercial uses.
The community's Phase 1 includes 343 detached homes and townhomes. It comprises 98 acres of residential uses with a mix of four lot sizes, ranging from 26 feet for the townhomes to 55 feet for executive homes. An amenity center with a gathering pavilion and resort-style pool are also included in Phase 1.
"The first phase will have a lot of unique architectural styles, picturesque streetscapes and value-added public space," Vidrine said.
The developer isn't ready to name homebuilders yet. Vidrine said the product mix would include executive homes and floorplans designed to accommodate multi-generation families. The townhomes will be "well-appointed" and strategically placed, within walking distance to the amenity center and the charter school, he said.
"We've received continued interest from national and regional builders, and we're in final negotiations as we speak," Vidrine said. "Buyers can expect to see model homes coming out of the ground before the end of the year."
The developer is building its segment of the Cross Prairie Parkway in exchange for mobility fee credits. The parkway is a major North-South mulitmodel corridor that extends from the FL Turnpike - E192 interchange (via Shady Lane) to Kissimmee Park Road, is in the final design stage and should be under construction this year.
In 2010, Secrist sold 370 acres of the original Tohoqua parent parcel to the county for $9.2 million. That property is now a passive park called the Twin Oaks Conservation Area. Vidrine said the community would have a robust trail network linking it to Twin Oaks.
Tohoqua was one of five DRIs and PMUDs that comprise the county's East of Lake Toho Master Plan. Those communities cover more than 11,000 acres and have combined entitlements for 16,380 single-family homes and 11,800 multifamily units.
Tohoqua is located south of Kindred, the northernmost community in the district. D.R. Horton started building homes in Kindred in 2015 and is now closing about 25 per month. That developer is currently in permitting for the final two sections of Phase 1, which will have 809 homes at buildout.
Horton consultant Jim Cooper told the county's Development Review Committee earlier this month that the builder would soon be ramping up to 30 homes per month.
Vidrine said his experience with Toll Brothers brought a luxury home mindset to the Tohoqua planning process that will make the community distinct from its neighbors.
"Tohoqua will be substantially different," Vidrine said. "Our neighborhood crafting is the intrinsic driver of value for our community. We're focusing on providing Central Florida with a community that is lifestyle-forward and education-rich, and offers home styles right for everyone."