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A birds-eye view of Feltram Group's new Balmoral at Waters Edge, a 245-unit vacation home resort in Haines City.
A birds-eye view of Feltram Group's new Balmoral at Waters Edge, a 245-unit vacation home resort in Haines City. (Feltrim Group)

Feltrim Group CEO Garrett Kenny is investing big in amenities at his new Haines City resort, Balmoral at Waters Edge, which opens in December.

Located on U.S. 27 just south of Highway 17, the 115-acre gated community features a mix of townhomes, single family and estate vacation homes - 245 homes in total. It also will be home to a Ronaldo Soccer Academy, one of five slated for Florida.

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Kenny told GrowthSpotter he's finalizing negotiations for a 10-acre parcel fronting on U.S. 27 for the soccer academy. If he can close the deal, the R9 Academy would be located adjacent to the main entrance to the resort and would be walking distance to Balmoral's $4.7 million clubhouse.

Garrett Kenny, CEO of Feltrim Group
Garrett Kenny, CEO of Feltrim Group (Laura Kinsler)

The site is currently home to a modular home sales lot, which would relocate. If the deal doesn't go through, Kenny said he would build the academy within Balmoral on land currently slated for phase three.

"When I bought the franchise, I knew I could deliver it," Kenny said.

The current design includes four soccer fields and a multipurpose building that can house events for the players and be divided into classrooms.  The players would provide a steady stream of visitors for the vacation home resort.

Feltrim Group is investing more than $4 million in the clubhouse/amenity center at Balmoral. The resort will have its own movie room, game room, restaurant, water park, firepit and playground. The open lawn will host outdoor movie nights with a large inflatable screen.
Feltrim Group is investing more than $4 million in the clubhouse/amenity center at Balmoral. The resort will have its own movie room, game room, restaurant, water park, firepit and playground. The open lawn will host outdoor movie nights with a large inflatable screen. (Feltrim Group)

"I'm looking for ways to generate new rentals for our owners instead of depending on Disney," Kenny said.

Feltrim has completed smaller projects in ChampionsGate and Reunion, but Balmoral is Kenny's largest project to date. So far he has sold 70 of the 102 homes slated for phase one - that includes all 24 townhomes. The models will open in late September.

"Our buyer profile is primarily from the UK and China, but we also sell in Venezuela, Brazil and Ireland," Kenny said.

He doesn't build any homes on spec. "I've learned from the crash, I have to be conservative," he said. "If anything goes wrong, I want to be a bulletproof as possible."

Visitors will be able to launch kayaks from the private beach at Balmoral's clubhouse.
Visitors will be able to launch kayaks from the private beach at Balmoral's clubhouse. (Feltrim Group)

He also played it conservative in relying on EB-5 funds for the resort. He set aside 35 lots - one for each $500,000 EB-5 investor.  "I've taken less EB-5 money than I could have, based on the number of jobs we're going to create," he said.

While many of his competitors are offering mega-sized homes with 12-14 bedrooms, Kenny has been reluctant to jump on the trend. Feltrim offers a few oversize lots available for custom, 8-bedroom homes (priced at $550,000), but Kenny said the four-bedroom, $390,000 Lancaster model, which sleeps 10, has been the best seller at Balmoral.

"It's not all about occupancy," he said. "I look at resale. We don't know what's going to happen in five years when those owners decide they want to sell. The data isn't there yet. How long is it going to take me to liquidate that house?"

The 4-BR, 4.5-BA Lancaster model has been the best seller at Balmoral. The $390,000 price includes pool and furniture package.
The 4-BR, 4.5-BA Lancaster model has been the best seller at Balmoral. The $390,000 price includes pool and furniture package. (Feltrim Group)

Kenny said he invests heavily in landscaping, and he reduced the number of lots so he could build a linear park through one of the neighborhoods. The design decision meant that 24 homes would face a community garden instead of a street.

A wedding venue will overlook one Balmoral's four lakes.
A wedding venue will overlook one Balmoral's four lakes. (Feltrim Group)

At Balmoral, he's also adding more amenities then he's ever offered. The clubhouse design replicates the version at Tuscana Resort in ChampionsGate, except the restaurant will be larger and it will include a game room with multiple gaming consoles. He plans the same pool design he used at The Fountains, but he's adding a splash park, water slides and an event lawn for outdoor movie nights.

The community will also have a private lakefront beach and a wedding venue. Keesee Associates is the project architect and engineer.

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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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