Orlando-based IDN Investment Group wants to convert the former Polk Nurseries site near Winter Haven into an infill, mixed-use development to provide affordable housing for seniors and working families.
IDN was founded by Stella Lalanne, a Coldwell Banker Commercial senior investment adviser specializing in healthcare acquisitions and development. The company's mission is to provide quality, safe housing for seniors, workforce and families with moderate economic resources.
IDN has the former 17-acre nursery site on the east side of Jersey Road under contract from the owner, PNC Property II, LLC. The proximity to multiple bus routes, particularly the "Citrus Connection Route 12" on Havendale Boulevard which connects Lakeland and Winter Haven, was a crucial factor in determining suitability of the site for multifamily development.
In her application, Lalanne said the new, walkable community would compliment the area and maximize the use of existing infrastructure and services. She has applied to Polk County for a Planned Development (PD) incorporating townhomes, apartments and 4,000 square feet of office and retail uses on the property.
The site plan, drafted by Pennoni's Beth Evans, calls for 40 townhomes on the 4.6-acre parcel north of Derby Avenue. The property south of Derby would have a mix of two-story and three-story apartment buildings, featuring a ground floor option for smaller, independent senior living studios.
Evans said special care was taken to buffer the development from existing neighborhoods. The townhomes would be at least 120 feet from the property line abutting single-family homes to the north.
The two-story buildings along the eastern property line would comprise a total of 48 units. Those are the buildings closest to existing residential development. The remaining three-story buildings would comprise the 168 units.
"Overall, the design principles used in the PD Site Plan will provide the needed transitions between existing and proposed uses while enabling a high degree of connectivity and access and promoting a healthy, affordable, and inclusionary mix of uses and housing choices for residents," Evans wrote in her impact assessment report.
Amenities could include a pool, clubhouse, walking/fitness trails, pavilions, gazebos, dog park, community garden and playground.
The community, dubbed "French Haven," would be built in four phases with an anticipated completion date in four to five years, depending on market conditions.
The Polk County Development Review Committee cleared the project to move on to the county's Planning Commission on June 6.