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Residential Property Developments

Rezoning sought to bring more homes, apartments to 95 acres in bustling Horizon West

Years after plans for the property were detailed in a 2017 portfolio report drafted by brokerage and investment firm CBRE, the owner of 95.7 acres in one of Central Florida’s hottest residential markets is ready to join in on the development frenzy happening in the area.

A pre-application package filed to Orange County this week would seek to rezone the parcel — located within Ovation Village of the Horizon West master-planned community — from its current agricultural designation to Planned Development. If granted, the land-use change could clear the way for the construction of as many as 433 multifamily units and 90 single family houses, according to early conceptual site plans.

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The property, at the northeast intersection of Avalon and Hartzog Roads, has since 2002 been owned by an affiliate of Saudi-based Floribra Land USA as part of a portfolio of land assets in the Four Corners area and along the U.S. 27 corridor.

The company is involved in dozens of projects in the Central Florida market. Several years ago, in 2015, the company annexed 2,467 acres into the City of Groveland for a massive mixed-use project called Villa City near the apex of the Florida’s Turnpike and U.S. 27 and on both sides of CR 565.

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The development’s PUD calls for 2,570 single-family homes, 2,000 multifamily units, and 3,190 active adult homes. Additional commercial entitlements include 300,000 square feet of office space, 100,000 square feet of industrial, 500,000 square feet of retail, an assisted living facility with 400 beds and a hotel with 150 rooms. Another 20 acres are reserved for a school.

Timothy Maslow, the city’s community development director, told GrowthSpotter the city is currently working with the owner’s representatives to plan for the necessary infrastructure to support the growth.

“This is still an approved PUD,” he said in an email. “I believe the owners will sell to builders and begin construction when the timing is right.”

A few years after the Groveland project surfaced, commercial real estate brokerage firm CBRE published a portfolio report on its client, Floribra Land.

The 2017 report highlighted projects proposed by Floribra for 66 individual parcels totaling 3,985 acres in Lake and Orange Counties. It included a conceptual site plan for the Horizon West property along Avalon Road.

At the time, the plan covered the land owned by Brown and Collins, but also adjacent property to the east that was, at the time, owned by Jim Karr and his wife, Tami.

Karr, a local real estate developer, sold his 79 acres in 2021 to homebuilder K. Hovnanian Homes for $11.6 million. After getting approval from the county Board of Commissioners last summer, the New Jersey-based company is moving forward on its 285-lot Osprey Ranch subdivision.

The recent sale of the Karr property means that whatever the Floribra group is pursuing now will be significantly smaller in scope than its original vision.

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The report by CBRE shows a mixed-use concept with a total of 716 multifamily units, 134 single-family lots, 73 townhomes and 38,000 square feet of commercial space.

In the report, the Avalon Road parcel — the subject of the recently submitted pre-application to Orange County — shows 433 apartment units, 90 single-family lots and 28,000 square feet of commercial space.

CBRE did not respond to requests for comment.

While the property sits within the Horizon West planning area, it’s currently zoned for agricultural uses. The parcel would need to be rezoned to PD in order to allow for residential growth.

Horizon West, located in southwest Orange County, includes five mixed-use villages surrounded by greenbelts, as well as a Town Center. The concept was adopted in 1995, and the area today is among the fastest-growing spots in Central Florida.

“There’s a lot happening out here, it’s pretty insane,” said Lou Ferraro, an eight-year resident of Horizon West who, as a real estate agent with Exp Realty, does a lot of business in the sub-market through his website livehorizonwest.team. “That whole area is just thousands of new homes and the demand has not eased up at all. I don’t see it easing up.”

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A number of housing projects are in the pipeline within Ovation Village, the last of the five villages to see development activity.

Dream Finders Homes — which already has an extensive brand presence in Horizon West — is seeking approval to mass grade 106 acres on the west side of Avalon Road in the Four Corners area for a planned subdivision with 463 single-family homes and townhomes.

MI Homes is preparing to add two more phases to its Encore at Ovation community, to the north and south side of Fleming Road, that would bring another 294 housing units to the area, according to construction plans submitted to the county.

Encore at Ovation currently has 429 homesites, according to MI Homes website. Eighteen homes are on the market for quick move-in, starting in the mid $500,000s, its website shows.

DHI Communities, a wholly-owned subsidiary of D.R. Horton that focuses on multifamily development, is working on its second apartment community in Ovation Village.

After completing and selling its 354-unit Ascend Waterleigh in 2021, the company submitted plans for a 270-unit garden-style apartment community, called Ascend at Avalon, on the northwest corner of Avalon Road and Lake Star Road.

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In other parts of Horizon West, Sun Terra Communities has been working on its Silverleaf PD, which covers 534 acres in the Horizon West Town Center. It’s planned for 1,200 single-family lots, 1,100 multi-family units, and 980,000 square feet of non-residential use.

Winter Garden-based Boyd Development, meanwhile, owns 1,200 acres in Horizon West and continues to chart out its vision for the Hamlin PD.

In March, the developer rolled out details of its new Hamlin 30 project — a mixed-use concept that includes the development of 100 multifamily units, approximately 170,000 square feet of commercial space and up to 26 hotel rooms on 30 acres of property along Schofield Road.

Months later, Boyd submitted an application to Orange County requesting an entitlement change on two other pieces of its large-scale Hamlin Planned Development in order to add another 270,000 square feet of commercial space.

“Here, you blink and there’s a new development,” said Ferraro.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at (407)-800-1161 or dwyatt@GrowthSpotter.com, or tweet me at @DustinWyattGS. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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