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Lakeland developer tweaks plan for mixed-use project on Legoland corridor

Lakeland-based Century Companies is moving forward again with plans for Cypress Landings — a residential, retail and commercial venture on 77.6 acres in Winter Haven. First proposed in late 2019, the development was stalled by the world pandemic and changes in financial opportunities.

Century, led by Larry Maxwell, has updated its plan for 253,000 square feet of retail development, apartments and possibly a hotel located at U.S. 27 corridor near Legoland. The company adjusted the acreage split between retail and residential, eliminated the hotel, and instead is boosting the number of apartments to 313 from 215, Jim Lee told GrowthSpotter. Lee is chief operating officer of Lakeland-based Retail Solutions Advisors, which is handling the marketing and leasing for the project.

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The owners and developers of the proposed Cypress Landings mixed-use PUD are scrapping the proposed hotel and adding nearly 100 more multifamily units.
The owners and developers of the proposed Cypress Landings mixed-use PUD are scrapping the proposed hotel and adding nearly 100 more multifamily units. (Kimley Horn)

“Everything did change last March,” Lee said. “We’ll probably go a more conventional route with lenders. Financing will not be the thing that slows us down. … We’re capable of doing what we want to. We’re financially sound.”

Century has owned the land, considered the one of the last large undeveloped parcels of the corridor, since about 2005. “Because of the location of the property, we’re obviously excited about it or we wouldn’t have held onto it during the downturn,” Lee said.

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Winter Haven Planning Manager Sean Byers has called the project “one of the more significant commercial projects we’ve seen in a few years.” It’s a major intersection and the primary roadway leading to Legoland and Winter Haven city center, Byers said.

Century will build the apartments first, on 20.2 acres, Lee said. That’s a slight adjustment down from 22.4 acres in the Nov. 2019 conceptual bubble plan by Kimley-Horn. Commercial acreage was increased slightly to 44.6 acres from 42.4 acres. The updated Planned Unit Development (PUD) is scheduled to go before the Winter Haven Planning Commission Feb. 2.

“Our plans are to move it as normal and as fast as government regulations will allow it,” Lee said. Century would like to build commercial and residential simultaneously if possible. “Once we get the apartments zoned and permitted with the city, I think you’ll see the commercial immediately take off after that. Retail always wants to know how many rooftops there are in the area.”

Lee expects retail and commercial to include a movie theater complex, restaurants in the outparcels and other shops. The concept plan on Retail Solutions Web site shows a 10-screen cinema with 1,106 seats, 44,500 square feet of outparcel space for restaurants and retail, and 207,988 square feet for a retail center and the cinema complex. The concept plan has not been updated with the new apartment figure.

No retail or commercial tenants have signed yet, Lee said. “We have had approximately 100,000 square feet of interest.”

Along with city hearings, Century must return to the Department of Transportation to get approval for access points to Cypress Landings.

Proposed access to the property will be from one driveway on Cypress Gardens Boulevard and two on US Highway 27 — one being a signalized intersection.

“It will all work out at the end of the day,” Lee said.

The Cypress Landings property is adjacent to Ashton North, an approved 84-acre PUD on Cypress Gardens Boulevard. That site is slated for a mix of commercial and multifamily development.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at Newsroom@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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