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Former House Rep. Dorworth back in land business, seeks builder

The parcel in beige and the one in white below it, both west of I-4 in Sanford, are pegged to be tied together by Chris Dorworth into a subdivision.
The parcel in beige and the one in white below it, both west of I-4 in Sanford, are pegged to be tied together by Chris Dorworth into a subdivision. (Seminole County Property Appraiser)

Former Florida House of Representatives member Chris Dorworth is close to putting up a 30-home subdivision in Sanford, once he chooses a home builder.

Dorworth, a Republican who served in the state legislature from 2007 through 2012 and now works with Ballard Partners in government relations, wants to build on North Oregon Street by putting together two five-acre parcels.

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But talk in the building community is that Dorworth, who is in the final engineering stages of his project, can't decide on a home builder.

He is said to have narrowed his candidates down to two, and is currently in negotiations with them. Dorworth did not respond to requests for comment.

While the two builders' names are not being disclosed, it is known that one of them will not be KB Home, which has a development, Silver Leaf, near Dorworth's proposed site.

The builder will be like KB Home, in that it will be a production builder that takes over a subdivision and builds a number of homes at one time, often based on models, as opposed to a custom builder that does one or two specialized homes at once, said builders familiar with Dorworth's plans.

Home builders that take the production approach include DR Horton, Pulte Homes, Park Square Homes, Mattamy Homes and CalAtlantic Homes.

Dorworth's homes are planned to be toward the upper end in terms of cost, and on 50-foot lots.

The subdivision property is under contract for an undisclosed amount. Roughly half is  a vacant parcel at 855 N. Oregon St. owned by Michael Messina of Fort Myers, who paid $200,000 for it in 2006, property records show.

The other parcel, at 755 N. Oregon St., is owned by Gayle Mims and contains a residence and a barn, according to property records. Mims did not respond to requests for comment, and Messina could not be reached.

The project would be located southeast of the Redmond Place and N. Oregon Street intersection.

IBI Group is the project's civil engineer. It is not known if a general contractor has been chosen or is being negotiated with. The same holds true for an architect.

Dorworth was elected to the Florida House of Representatives for District 34 in a special election in 2007, when he was 31. The district is made up of western Seminole County and a small amount of Orange County.

Dorworth was re-elected in 2008 and 2010, and lost in 2012. Prior to his election, he was a resident of Heathrow, a Board of Trustee Chairman for Seminole Community College and  a real estate developer.

His land dealings have raised eyebrows more than once.

On the same day the former state representative bought 18 acres along the planned Wekiva Parkway for $960,000, he sold it to a home builder for $3.2 million, according to property records cited by the Orlando Sentinel in 2014.

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The Tampa Bay Times, in a lengthy piece on Dorworth in 2012, described him as "a real estate investor … who faced major financial losses."

He reported earning $186,000 in 2011 as a business consultant, but listed losses of $235,000 on a couple of business projects, the paper reported.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at ktalley@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-5176. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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