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Minto Communities, the original developer of Festival, has sold the undeveloped land to homebuilder Ashton Woods.
Minto Communities, the original developer of Festival, has sold the undeveloped land to homebuilder Ashton Woods. (Rob-Harris Productions/Minto Communities)

Minto Communities has exited its candy-colored Festival resort community in Polk County, selling the undeveloped land along Interstate 4 to Ashton Woods.

Division President Bill Bullock told GrowthSpotter the Florida-based homebuilder was divesting of its only Orlando-area community in order to focus on the expansion of its Latitude Margaritaville-branded active adult communities in Daytona Beach and Hilton Head, S.C.

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Minto had paid $11.5 million in 2014 to enter the Central Florida vacation home market with the highly-visible 216-acre land buy across I-4 from ChampionsGate. The project was previously approved for up to 900 multifamily units, but Minto redesigned it as an moderately-priced vacation home townhouse resort and started building in 2015. The community was divided into five phases, or pods.

“All the amenities are in,” Bullock said. “We fully built out and completed the first phase -- all the heavy lifting -- the spine road. There’s a really good runway for someone new to come in and pick it up."

New residents in the Ashton Woods section will have access to Festival's resort amenities, which were completed by Minto Communities during Phase 1.
New residents in the Ashton Woods section will have access to Festival's resort amenities, which were completed by Minto Communities during Phase 1. (Minto Communities)

Minto deeded the amenities to the HOA in May, and Ashton Woods bought the remainder of the community for just under $2 million.

Erik Peterson, land development director for Polk County, said the new owner initially considered building a single-family detached product in the community, but ultimately decided to tweak the townhouse design. Ashton Woods has renamed it “Enclave at Festival” and is marketing the townhomes for residential buyers.

“They looked at doing detached, but the land’s pretty tight and there’s a lot of wetlands,” Peterson said. “You wouldn’t have had much of a back yard. Plus, they would have had to do a major modification to the PD.”

Ashton Woods has filed environmental permit modification requests with the Southwest Florida Water Management District for Phases 2, 3 and 4 of the community, which add up to a combined 212 more units. The homebuilder also has filed preliminary plats with Polk County for phases 2 and 4. Company representatives were not available for comment.

Evans Engineering is the civil engineer.

The new townhomes will range in size from 1,500 to 2,200 square feet and will have attached garages. New owners will have access to all the resort amenities, including the pool, water park, fitness center and miniature golf course. Prices will start in the mid $200,000s, according to the website.

Ashton Woods has built luxury 3-story townhomes in the Enclave at Altamonte, and is currently building a 203-unit community near College Park through its more affordable Starlight Homes brand. The company is also actively selling in Clermont’s Serenoa master planned community.

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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