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Developers eyeing Sumter, Polk counties for Build-for-Rent single-family neighborhoods

DeBartolo Development's first BFR community in Central Florida would be along Homerun Boulevard, across from Posner City Center in Davenport.
DeBartolo Development's first BFR community in Central Florida would be along Homerun Boulevard, across from Posner City Center in Davenport. (RVi Planning)

Two new build-for-rent single-family home developments are in the works in the Orlando-metro area, adding to the increasingly popular low-maintenance community style.

In Wildwood in Sumter County, Miami-based MAS Development Corp. paid $2.5 million for 28 acres just east of The Villages on which it plans to develop 250 purpose-built rental homes. The deal closed Sept. 24, broker Daryl Carter of Orlando-based Maurey Carter & Associates told GrowthSpotter.

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In Polk County, Tampa-based DeBartolo Development submitted a proposal for a 140-unit single-family for rent cluster development located on almost 16 acres on the southern and eastern side of Homerun Boulevard, northeast of Four Corners Industrial Park across U.S. 27 from Posner City Center. It’s one of the company’s first ventures into the BFR segment, with a project also in the works in St. Augustine.

Some of the purpose-built rental homes will be clustered in groups of six.
Some of the purpose-built rental homes will be clustered in groups of six. (RVi Planning)

Carter represented the sellers in Sumter County – Steve and Debra Munz – who had a house and a pole barn on the property on Cleveland Avenue. The deal took about a year, Carter said. “That’s kind of par for the course when you take a raw piece of land through an entitlement process.”

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For MAS Development, the project will be its first build-for-rent on its own, Nico Chami told GrowthSpotter. Chami, who oversees acquisitions for the company, said MAS may self-develop the Wildwood project, currently being called Village Pointe.

“This would be our first project. We have others in the pipeline,” Chami said. The location near The Villages is fantastic, Chami and Carter said.

The Villages is the nation’s largest and fastest-growing retirement community and routinely tops RCLCO’s list of top-selling master-planned communities.

MAS Development just purchased 28 acres on C.R. 466A in Sumter County for a BFR community just outside of The Villages.
MAS Development just purchased 28 acres on C.R. 466A in Sumter County for a BFR community just outside of The Villages. (Maury L. Carter & Associates)

In July, Lake County officials approved an economic incentive package for the $100 million mixed-use district by The Villages Development Company in the city of Leesburg. The new “wellness village” will have an emphasis on the healthcare industry and includes the construction of a regional hospital.

BFR communities are one of the fastest-growing trends in the residential real estate segment today. Most BFR communities consist of single-story cottage-style homes and private yards with access to upscale apartment-like amenities. Florida has 20 suburbs that transitioned to a renter majority population this past decade, and four of them are in Orlando Metro, according to RentCafe, a blog focused on rentals, which gets its data from sister company Yardi Matrix.

  • Altamonte Springs is the metro’s top suburb to transition to a renter-majority this past decade, holding the highest share of renters – 59%. In 2010, the community had 47% of its residents living in a rented place.
  • Azalea Parks and Leesburg both have a rental share of 53%.
  • Renter population growth indicates that 3 other suburbs in Orlando metro might change from owner to renter majority in the following years – Pine Hills (48%), Four Corners (47%), and Casselberry (46%).
  • Apopka had a 46% surge in renter-share.
The South Carolina-based private equity firm wants to grow its single-family rental portfolio to 5,000 homes over the next three years.

DeBartolo, which has more than 4,000 multi-family units under development or under construction, is seeking a zoning change to RM-X (Residential Medium) from BPC-1X (Business Park Center) and RAC-X (Regional Activity Center).

“The proposed cluster home community introduces a new housing product in Polk County that requires less space than traditional single-family detached home communities. It may encourage other unique developments throughout the County,” DeBartolo wrote on its application. Company representatives declined to comment at this time.

A site plan prepared by Orlando-based RVi Planning+ Landscape Architecture for DeBartolo and civil engineer Atwell Group shows a boomerang-shaped community with a pool and clubhouse at its center.

Thirty-six of the units are “uniquely ‘clustered’ with roadway access stemming from the main internal roadway.”

The proposal is set to go before the Polk County Planning Commission on Dec. 1, followed by a Board of County Commissioners transmittal hearing on Feb. 1 and a BoCC adoption hearing on June 7.

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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