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Winter Haven’s Villamar community expanding to add 700 more homes

The Winter Haven City Council will consider a proposal to expand the existing Villamar planned unit development by 126 acres and swap out apartments for more single family homes.
The Winter Haven City Council will consider a proposal to expand the existing Villamar planned unit development by 126 acres and swap out apartments for more single family homes. (City of Winter Haven)

Villamar in Winter Haven continues to grow and could bring as many as 2,045 new homes to the city after approval by the city planning commission to add another 705 homesites to the conceptual master plan.

Cassidy Homes is the master developer for the 482-acre Planned Unit Development, where four homebuilders are actively selling in the early phases. The latest plan converts future entitlements in Phase 3 from 335 multifamily units to single-family homes. The community is located two miles from Legoland and close to Posner Park. Villamar’s latest proposed phases are south of Eloise Loop Road and Lake Grass, north of Cunningham Road, and east of the CSX Railroad tracks.

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Winter Haven’s planning commission recommended approval at its May 4 meeting. The City Commission had the first reading Monday without comment; the second reading and a vote are set for June 14. After that, each phase will require only staff approval to move forward with construction, city planning manager Sean Bennett told GrowthSpotter. The proposal continues to include the extension of Eloise Loop Road at County Road 653.

Some of Florida’s and the country’s largest homebuilders are working in Villamar, which was annexed into Winter Haven 2004 and 2006. They include D.R. Horton, Highland Homes, Adams Homes and Meritage Homes.

Adam Schott, Vice President of Land Acquisition for Meritage, said builders are drawn to Winter Haven because of the population growth. “Polk County is one of the strongest growth corridors in Central Florida,” he told GrothSpotter. “People are moving from Orlando and Tampa to get out of the congestion of the cities and into more affordable and easy living.”

Lakeland-Winter Haven is tied for the second-fastest-growing metropolitan service area in the nation, just behind Austin, Texas., according to a New York Times analysis of the 2020 Census Report.

The developer plans to build a large pool and clubhouse on the lakeshore. Other amenities in the approved plan include a wedding chapel, boat launch, yoga lawn and splash pad.

The latest proposal for Villamar expands to the PUD by adding 126 acres of pastureland and woodlands to Villamar Phase 3, which currently is under construction.

Under the PUD amendment, the number of lots with minimum 40-foot widths would increase to a potential maximum of 974 from 200. The remainder would be 50-foot lots, according to a conceptual plan by Dennis Wood Engineering. and the overall gross density would increase to 3.6 units per acre, an acre higher than the average for surrounding communities. The density fits with the current future land use of Residential-Low Density, which allows between 2 and 10 units per acre.

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

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