Haines City Commission approves pair of new residential projects totaling 400+ lots

Haines City Commissioners this month approved a pair of rezoning requests for new residential subdivisions that will add more than 400 new home lots to the city.

The larger of the two projects is in development by Feltrim Group, the same firm that is in the second phase of Balmoral Resort and is building a Ronaldo R9 soccer academy in Haines City.

Feltrim is under contract to buy a 64-acre orange grove on the south side of Roe Road, a block south of Haines City Senior High School. 

"What I like about it is that it's close to the school," Feltrim CEO Garrett Kenny told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday. "Haines City is really growing, and I think when we open our private school at Balmoral in 2018, it's going to help Haines City even more."

Kenny said he's naming the community "Tarpon Bay" as an homage to the area's rich fishing history. "I told the designers I want it to have nautical features, and the street names will be nautical or fishing themed," he said.  

The community will include a mix of townhomes and single-family homes on 52-foot and 60-foot lots. The initial site plan calls for 279 units, which includes the 48 townhomes. The project would be constructed in three phases, with the pool, clubhouse and other amenities in Phase 2.

Commissioner Anne Huffman questioned the decision to not include the amenities as part of the first phase during the May 18 meeting.

Project Manager Steve O'Dowd explained that since the community isn't gated, having a swimming pool in the first phase could cause a security risk and stress the city's police department. 

"If you've been out to Balmoral, you'll see the magnitude of the investment Gary makes in his amenities," O'Dowd said. "He needs homeowners living there before he builds an amenity like that -- otherwise it becomes a playground for vandals."

Kenny said he plans to complete all of the grading during Phase 1, so the project could expand seamlessly into its subsequent phases. Early plans also call for a linear park facing the townhomes and a water feature flanking the clubhouse area.

All of the ponds will be lined and will have lighted fountains.

"We don't want it to look like a concrete jungle," Kenny said. "I think people are willing to pay a little more for nicer amenities." 

The townhouse prices will start at about $200,000. Home designs on the 50-foot and 60-foot lots will be similar to those available at Balmoral, but they won't come with luxury finishes standard, like quartz counters.

"Those will be available as options, but we want to keep the prices more affordable," Kenny said. 

Dave Schmitt is the project engineer. Keesee Associates is the architect, and Bellavista Building Group will be general contractor. 

Kinny said he expects to break ground in First Quarter 2018.

City Commissioners also approved a Residential PUD rezoning for Estates at Lake Hammock, a 119-acre subdivision that will span both sides of C.R. 17. 

Orlando-based PIB Land bought the project in 2015 for $785,000 from the mortgage lender that had foreclosed on a previous investor/developer. 

Development Services Director Richard Greenwood said the project stalled during the recession. It had an approved low-density residential zoning and site plan that called for minimum 80-foot lots. 

"The developer of this property is now proposing to revive it and come back with a more market-sensitive approach to the development," Greenwood said. "They’re reducing the lot sizes from 8,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet, which resulted in an increase of about 20 lots."

The new site plan calls for 163 lots. Home prices would start at $185,000, according to city documents.

PIB Director of Operations Bobby Luthra told GrowthSpotter his firm would deliver appoximately 1,000 lots to area homebuilders this year. Estates at Lake Hammock will be ready for development by the end of the year, he said. 

Quigg Engineering's Dave Holden said the community would be constructed in three phases, with the first two phases on the east side of C.R. 17. The first phase includes 21 home sites, plus the first of two planned neighborhood parks. The park on Lake Hammock will feature a boardwalk leading out to a fishing dock on the lake.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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