Patrons eat at TR Fire Grill earlier this year in the Rauvadage development located on U.S. 17-92 and Lee Road.
Patrons eat at TR Fire Grill earlier this year in the Rauvadage development located on U.S. 17-92 and Lee Road. (Red Huber / Orlando Sentinel)

Dan Bellows' Benjamin Partners Ltd. could close sales this year on 5.6 acres of his sprawling 73-acre Ravaudage property in northern Winter Park, which is now under contract to two multi-family operators, the developer told GrowthSpotter.

Alliance Residential Company has 2.3 acres under contract to develop a 268-unit market rate apartment complex of 7-8 stories with concrete structured parking, while Bainbridge Apartments has 3.3 acres under contract for a six-story, 296-unit development with a similar garage, Bellows said.

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"We're now vetting these contracts for multi-family and going through due diligence on them," he said. "Those projects would be in the neighborhood of $110 million in investment, between the two."

Representatives from Alliance and Bainbridge did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Both apartment projects have been previously entitled through Winter Park, Bellows said. Updated site plan review packages will be submitted for both to the city's Development Review Committee, before going to the building department for potential permits.

Bellows Sydgan Corporation filed an amendment request in April with the St. Johns Water Management District, updating the environmental resource permit approved in July 2013 for Ravaudage Phase 1. He now wants to build a three-acre park around the site's master stormwater retention pond as part of recreation area for the multi-family property currently under contract.

Bellows' Benjamin Partners is also developing its own six-story concrete structured parking garage to provide additional common parking to the property, with an exterior liner of retail and office suites.

The development of Ravaudage has been a slow boil for Bellows since 2002, when he began acquiring land on the northwest corner of Lee Road and N. Orlando Avenue (U.S. 17-92).

Thirteen years later, 73 contiguous acres have been amassed through more than 200 transactions, he said, with entitlements for the mixed-use project sourced from three different governments.

Much of the land fell within Orange County, a third within Maitland city limits and some in Winter Park. Bellows has had to de-annex 14 acres from Winter Park into the county, entitle 50 acres through Orange County and re-annex it back into Winter Park as a whole.

He began another run through government approval this month for 23 acres of Ravaudage in Maitland, where he has a 17.5-acre comprehensive plan and text amendment, his second in that city.

"Have you ever tried to assemble 73 acres of infill property from more than 200 individual owners, and go through multiple governments for entitlements, all of which have their own opinion?" he said. "I want to do this right, as a developer born and raised here. But sometimes it takes forever to get approvals to do the right thing."

Patience was key to Bellows' redevelopment of Hannibal Square, an assemblage process he began in 1989 to buy up the entirety of four city blocks in Downtown Winter Park, in order to tear down, rebuild and lease up to its vibrant state today.

"People love those cobblestone streets and all the activity there, but it took a good 25 years," he said.

He also spent nearly 20 years and more than $3.1 million to assemble four acres on Winter Park's Minnesota Avenue, the final parcels bought in late December, where he hopes to build a mixed-use development with affordable housing for sale and lease.

Of the 73 acres for Ravaudage, 2 acres have been developed on the property's hard corner in the past two years for restaurants TR Fire Grill, Miller's Ale House and Zona Fresca.

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Aside from the 5.6 acres now under contract the rest is pad-ready for sale, with retailers like Panera Bread, Orchard Supply Hardware and national grocers previously showing interest, Bellows said.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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