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D.R. Horton seeks zoning approvals for 1,565 homesites in Ridgewood Lakes

This map shows all three of the proposed D.R. Horton Greystone neighborhoods, which are outlined in yellow. North is left.
This map shows all three of the proposed D.R. Horton Greystone neighborhoods, which are outlined in yellow. North is left. (Polk County)

America’s largest homebuilder is making another huge investment in Polk County with a pending deal to buy more than 1,200 acres in Davenport’s Ridgewood Lakes DRI.

D.R. Horton has filed rezoning applications for three separate projects, all under the new title Greystone, with initial approvals for 1,565 homes. One of the three new communities would be age restricted, according the proposed Planned Unit Development filing.

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The purchase contracts cover less than half of vacant land owned by affiliates of Walton Group in Phase 2 of the Ridgewood Lakes DRI.

The first phase of the DRI was developed by Pulte Group under its Del Webb brand and is almost sold out. The Walton-owned assets comprise 2,609 acres and are entitled for 5,571 dwelling units.

Walton Group controls over 2,600 acres of the Ridgewood Lakes DRI in the Davenport area. D.R. Horton is under contract for 1,209 acres.
Walton Group controls over 2,600 acres of the Ridgewood Lakes DRI in the Davenport area. D.R. Horton is under contract for 1,209 acres. (Walton Group)

All three D.R. Horton cases are headed to Polk County’s Development Review Committee this week. Polk County Principal Planner Erik Peterson told GrowthSpotter the new Greystone communities could be part of a larger master-planned community or could develop separately. Dewberry is the project engineer for all three.

“These are three separate cases and all will go to the Planning Commission on Jan. 6,” Peterson said. “I would expect the public input will differ. The project on Ernie Caldwell Boulevard will have no opposition whatsoever. The two cases next to Del Webb will probably have some concern.”

Greystone North PD, located on the south side of Ernie Caldwell Boulevard, would cover 479 acres. More than half of the land would be preserved as conservation space, including large swaths on both sides of Horse Creek. The development plan calls for 740 dwelling units: a mix of 276 townhomes, 168 detached homes on 40-foot lots and 296 detached homes on 50-foot lots. The community would have a 5.7-acre recreation site.

The application states that Walton already has made improvements to the surrounding road network. This project would include a southern extension of Pine Tree Trail, south of Ernie Caldwell Boulevard, and a connection to Little Zion Road, which is being improved as part of an adjacent neighborhood that is currently under construction.

The massive Polk County project is approved for nearly 6,000 homes, but a retail center on U.S. 27 will likely come first.

Greystone North is about 1.5 miles from Posner City Center, and it blankets another 110-acre parcel on Ernie Caldwell Boulevard that is entitled for commercial development. The area was previously approved for multifamily development with a minimum density of 8 units per acre, so this would represent a reduction in density.

Peterson said there currently are no pending applications for multifamily development in the DRI. “I would suspect they’ll have entitlements to spare,” he said.

Greystone West would cover 53 acres north of Ridgewood Lakes Boulevard. D.R. Horton is seeking approvals for a 222-unit townhome community there. It would abut another new 113-unit townhome community being developed by Clearwater-based CG Land Investments at the intersection of Ridgewood Lakes Boulevard and Del Sol Avenue.

Greystone South would be accessed via an extension of Ridgewood Lakes Boulevard through the Del Webb community. “They’re planning to build a bridge over Horse Creek,” Peterson said. The community would have a second access point from the east via C.R. 547/Ray Jackson Highway.

Developers are prepping for another 600 homes in Clermont's Serenoa community.

This would be a new 677-acre active adult community. The initial zoning request includes entitlements for 603 homes on 234.5 acres, meaning more than half of the acreage may be reserved for open space and/or future development. There’s also a large area designated for a future amenity center at the main entrance, and it would be nearly surrounded by water features.

D.R. Horton is already active in the senior housing space with its successful Palms at Serenoa community in Clermont. The builder launched that 580-home active adult community in 2018 and is in its second phase. The product mix at the new Greystone community would mirror what’s offered in Serenoa: attached villas (174 units), 50-foot lots (347) and 60-foot premium lots (82).

Walton, a multi-national, privately-owned real estate investment and development group, bought the undeveloped Ridgewood Lakes DRI in 2013 and updated the DRI and development order in 2017 to relaunch the community. The residential entitlements includes 2,435 single family detached, 586 townhomes and 2,550 multifamily units.

The Arizona-based developer also has approvals for 65,000 square feet of commercial and retail space at Ridgewood Lakes Boulevard and U.S. 27. The DRI requires a future school, but Peterson said the approved school site is located on land that’s not under contract to D.R. Horton.

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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 @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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