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Boston developer plans apartments, medical building near Polk County hospital

Boston-based Saxon Partners plans to build apartments geared for healthcare workers immediately south of AdventHealth Heart of Florida Hospital.
Boston-based Saxon Partners plans to build apartments geared for healthcare workers immediately south of AdventHealth Heart of Florida Hospital. (AVID Group)

Boston-area Saxon Partners plans to build a 240-apartment community and a 16,000-foot medical building in Haines City across Massee Road from AdventHealth Heart of Florida hospital. The project is part of Saxon’s new program called The Marek, which specializes in multi-family developments located near major medical centers across the country, Gary Warfel told GrowthSpotter. Warfel is the director of the company’s multi-family development.

The apartments, aimed at single professionals, visiting physicians, nurses and hospital employees, will be studio and one-bedroom, Warfel said. Saxon owns land in Kissimmee and Vero Beach, but this Polk County project will be the first one developed in the area. Saxon paid $3.1 million in 2020 for 11 acres across the street from Orlando Regional Medical Center.

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“As the healthcare industry grows, we see that there is a tremendous housing need close to these,” Warfel said. “We’re geared toward that younger professional set who is likely living single.”

The three sites already have approved development plans for a new industrial park, credit union and $50 million apartment complex.

Saxon plans two 4-story buildings, a 5,883-square-foot clubhouse and office building, a 12,000 square foot pool and 2,000-square foot fitness center and a 5,000-square foot open area on the 8 acres it is buying, according to site plans created by Palm Harbor-based civil engineer AVID Group. The property is south of Massee Road, west of Lionel Way, and north of Olive Drive. Warfel said Saxon will likely use a third-party management company but retain ownership.

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Saxon Partners had planned a similar project in Kissimmee next to Osceola Regional Medical Center but pulled the plug on it due to Osceola County’s school impact fees, which would have totaled more than $4.6 million. That site is now being marketed for sale.

On Monday, the Haines City Planning Commission approved a zoning change to Residential Planned Unit Development (RPUD) from City Professional Institutional Center for the apartments. The planned medical building on 1.5 acres northeast of the apartments was not part of the planned development.

City approval comes two years into the project, Warfel said. Saxon has had the land under contract and now sees closing on the deal within 60 days. The land, being sold by Citizens Bank & Trust, was part of Businesses on Lake St. Charles, which went bankrupt after the 2008 housing recession.

The new subdivision would be next door to Forest Lake, where Pulte is already pre-selling new homes under its Centex Brand.

Saxon is closing without having an off-site infrastructure deal in place with the city that would reimburse the company for required and long-anticipated traffic improvements at U.S. 27 and Massee Road.

“We gave up on it temporarily,” Warfel said. “We focused our efforts on zoning and land use because we realized that this wasn’t going to happen overnight. And once we close, we’ll press on that.”

“It has to be done,” Warfel said of the off-site improvements identified in a Dec. 5, 2021 traffic study by VHB. Those improvements or an agreement for the completion must be in place before Saxon’s construction plans will be approved.

“We understood that. The bank understood that,” he said. “The improvements will tremendously help Polk County.”

Warfel expects to break ground in the first quarter of 2023. “We have to get these development agreements done and the offsite improvements done, which will take at least a year.”

Indian Rocks Beach-based Truckin Traffic is the traffic engineer. Saxon is using Charlan Brock Architects of Maitland and landscape architect Clearwater-based CJM Designs LLC.

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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