Three development firms launch bids to buy land near Ocoee-Winter Garden border

Ocoee city-owned land, formerly owned by the Coca-Cola Company, has received at least three unsolicited bids for development.

Companies tossing their hats in the ring include, Summit XV Holdings LLC, which is an entity led by Robert Holston of Holston Properties & DevelopmentThe Keewin Real Property Company; and Meritage Homes.

The bids are for the purchase of 13. 51 acres at 2012 Ocoee Apopka Rd., next to Ocoee High School. 

The undeveloped land is part of a roughly 318-acre assemblage that the city acquired in 2000 for $3.75 million from Coca Cola — meaning the land, known as the Crown Point property, traded hands for $11,792.45 per acre.

Since then, the city has been busy selling off pieces of the property, the most recent of which was sold in two transactions to Mattamy Homes.

The homebuilder dropped a total of $7.5 million for a 303-lot subdivision that will comprise its new Preserve at Crown Point gated community.

The Ocoee Crown Point Planned Unit Development was originally approved by the city in 2004. An amended PUD and Preliminary Subdivision plan to provide for the sale of property to Mattamy Homes was approved in 2015.

In late 2018, the city received an unsolicited offer from Holston's Summit XV Holdings LLC proposing to pay $93,750 per acre for the 13.51- acre lot. At that price point the total purchase would amount to $1.26 million. 

The property consists of a mix of tracts whose uses range from "village center" to " mixed-use." 

Following the receipt of the first offer, city staff obtained an appraisal of the property prepared by Property Valuation & Consulting, Inc. 

The firm valued the property at $ 2.92 million. 

Then, in early December, the city recieved an unsolicited offer from Keewin. The firm offered to pay $1.35 million or $100,280 per acre for the property.

Allan E. Keen is the chairman and CEO of Keewin. The Winter Park-based company specializes in real estate development, investment and brokerage services. 

The most recent unsolicited bid came from Meritage Homes of Florida, which just last month offered to purchase the property for about $1.5 million, or $108,709 per acre. 

With the appraised value of the property at $2.9 million, the most recent offer falls short of the target by almost half.  

At a previous city commission meeting, Craig Shadrix, the city manager, said most of the developers are interested in building townhomes. 

Record requests for submitted offers were not made immidiately available for the story.

At a Tuesday city commission meeting, officials will discuss whether to prepare a formal solicitation for bids or proceed with negotiations with one of the entities who submitted an offer. 

In an email response, Ocoee city attorney Scott Cookson said he is working with city officials on a draft request for proposals. 

The land lies close to the Ocoee-Winter Garden border, about 10 minutes south from the city's downtown, which is in the midst of a $43 million redevelopment project that is slated to be complete by 2020.

Wharton-Smith Construction was tapped to design and build a new city hall as part of the city's redevelopment efforts. The new city hall building will be located on the northeast corner of Bluford Avenue and McKey Street.

Meritage Homes is in the midst of delivering a 695-home community South Seminole County. 

The property, nearly 270 acres on Howell Branch Road between S.R. 436 and Dike Road, was formerly known as San Pedro Center and owned by the Catholic Diocese of Orlando.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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