David Waronker and his Celebration-based CBD Real Estate Investment LLC continue to invest in Polk County with another 2,114 single-family lots planned near Bartow and in Lake Wales. And for the first time, Waronker is going to develop a commercial section at the community entrance.
CBD is in a joint venture with Polk County cattle farmer and landowner Dale Albritton to develop 378.8 acres for 1,051 single-family lots near Bartow, Waronker told GrowthSpotter.
“We’re developing it together,” Waronker said. He spent about 6 months in talks with Albritton after approaching him to see if he would sell his land, located south of Gerber Dairy Road and north of State Road 60 in unincorporated Polk County. The two came up with a plan to work together to build a planned development that hopefully will be part of a newly created Community Development District (CDD).
The city of Bartow will provide utilities, but annexation isn’t expected. Waronker said annexation was discussed but city officials were concerned about being able to provide police protection.
The property crosses Peace River and will require a bridge to avoid the wetlands. Waronker and Albritton plan to make the area a focal nature stop in the community, which will be known as Peace River Ranch.
“It’s actually a creek at that point – there’s a 300-foot crossing,” Waronker said. “It’s a big expense but what a perfect place to have your greenspace and amenities.”
Waronker said the community will be built in 4 phases with 565 40-foot lots and 486 50-foot lots. It’s too soon to talk to builders, he said, but the homes will be a minimum of 1,500 square feet. Plans are for street signs to be unique with the community’s logo when designed by Julie Dubela with streets named for famous people in Polk County – from native Americans, original settles, war veterans, things like that.
“I believe if my projections are correct, and our marketing department projections are correct, this project will sell 250-350 homes a year. So it’s probably a 3-4 year build out,” Waronker said. “All these assumptions are if the market doesn’t change dramatically.”
Among the planned amenities are a pool and clubhouse, basketball court, soccer field, tennis courts, volleyball courts and bocci ball courts, according to a site plan by Orlando-based Dave Schmitt Engineering Inc.
Alyson Utter of Anderson Lesniak Limited in Tampa is the landscape architect. “We’re going to make it a phenomenal landscape plan for this site,” Waronker said. The Polk County Planning Commission will consider the site plan at its Jan. 5 meeting.
With the bridge, the CDD, the planning and design, Waronker said, “we think we’re going to need another 9 months to a year to get this fully developed. … We’ll be developing this ourselves and selling off to builders. It’s going to be a really beautiful community.”
Others involved in the Peace Creek project and in LakeWales are Tim Talbott of Stillwater Environmental; Rob Cornelius of Geotech consulting firm Andreyev Engineering Inc.; traffic consultant Libby Rodriguez; surveyor Mike Lewis; project attorney Leonard Johnson of Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney in Tampa; and CDD attorney Mark Watts, a partner at Cobb Cole in Deland.
CBD’s newest project in Lake Wales will add another 1,063 lots on 227 acres to the city. The developer recently sold 1,160 lots on 230 acres to Lennar Homes for $18 million. Lennar plans to build 799 single-family homes and 357 townhomes in Hunt Club Grove North and South.
Groves at Orchard Hills, proposed for 1,063 lots between Bellview Drive and Passion Play Road along Hwy 17, will include a commercial portion requested by Lake Wales planners, Waronker said. CBD will develop about 3.5 acres at Passion Play Road and 11th Street into a neighborhood commercial shopping area with about 24,000 square feet of retail/commercial space, Waronker told GrowthSpotter. The Shoppes at Orchard Hills will service Groves at Orchard Hills as well as Hunt Club Grove communities.
“There’s got to be something here to service these 2,300 homes,” Waronker said. “It was a suggestion of the City and I agree with them.” He envisions small restaurants, a bakery, dry cleaner and other neighborhood services and shops.
Waronker and CBD are buying the land for Groves at Orchard Hills from Ellis Hunt, president of Hunt Brothers and a third-generation Florida citrus grower. The community will have 40-, 50- and 60-foot lots with all the streets named for fruit groves – another historical reference.
The conceptual plan as it is will be updated, Waronker said. “It bothers me – it kind of looks a little too cookie-cutter. We might sacrifice lot numbers to make it look a little better. I don’t like these long runs. Maybe that’s a good place to put a park. We have to make it look nicer.”
With “almost zero wetlands” to deal with unlike at Peace Creek, Waronker sees Groves at Orchard Hills completed in 3 phases in about a year.