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Tennessee company that builds ‘housements’ eyes Apopka for next project

The subject property spans about 43 acres and sits adjacent to the Lake Apopka Restoration Area, about a mile away from AdventHealth Apopka.
The subject property spans about 43 acres and sits adjacent to the Lake Apopka Restoration Area, about a mile away from AdventHealth Apopka. (Orange County Property Appraiser/GrowthSpotter)

Spring Hill, Tennessee-based JCF Living, which builds what it calls “housements,” is brewing up plans in Apopka.

Project manager Brian Coil was listed in plans submitted in Apopka seeking to annex about 1.5-acres of land into the city and simultaneously amend its development entitlements for residential use.

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The requests are part of larger forthcoming plans, Erika Hughes, entitlements manager at the planning and engineering firm VHB, told the city’s Development Review Committee last week.

John Fitzmaurice, the owner of JCF, has patented the term “housements,” an apparent combination of the words house and apartment.

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According to the company’s website, the firm specializes in building multifamily developments that feature single-story buildings with private driveways and green space for renters. Amenities often include a community pool and fitness center, its website said.

The design is similar to the horizontal apartment trend seen emerging throughout the United States as more institutional investors begin building single-family rental portfolios.

Coil did not respond to requests for comment.

The property is owned by Bert E. Roper and Barbara C. Roper Family LLLP. Altogether, the partnership owns about 43 acres of land at and around 1252 S. Binion Road. The property sits directly southwest of the intersection between S.R. 429 and S. Binion Road (C.R. 437), about a mile away from AdventHealth Apopka.

The proposed master-planned community consists of 1.5 million square feet of industrial space, more than 200,000 square feet of general commercial space, up to 278 multifamily units, and up to 643 townhomes or single-family residences.

Across from the site, Sunrise-based real estate investment company Centerline Capital Advisors is assembling about 367 acres of land with plans for a large mixed-use community. Next to that, Meritage Homes is also working to procure nearly 100 acres of agricultural land with plans to build more than 300 new residences.

Husband and wife Bert and Barbara Roper have a legacy in the area. Their family’s lineage dates back to the 1850s with agricultural ties linked the area’s early citrus production businesses.

According to online marketing material, the family calls the property the “Boy Scout Block,” named after a former Boy Scout Camp located north of the property at 221 S. Binion Road. Today it’s known as Camp Wewa, which was recently put up for sale by the YMCA.

The late Bert Roper was a citrus grower and philanthropist. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Roper, a philanthropist known for being the first female board chair of the YMCA of Central Florida and the first female board chair of the YMCA of the USA.

Most of the property that JCF is considering to redevelop features a Mixed-Use — Employment Center (EC) future land use and zoning title.

Under those entitlements, a developer could build up to 15 dwelling units an acre, or a maximum of 647 dwellings units on the entire site. Non-residential development is entitled to use a 0.25 to 1.0 Floor Area Ratio (FAR). Those densities could yield between roughly 470,000 square feet or more than 1.8 million square feet of new commercial space.

Horizontal apartments are similar to build-for-rent single-family homes, except the homes tend to be smaller. Features often include private yards and amenities that closely resemble those found in most apartment complexes.

The housing units tend to be smaller, but they have private yards and amenities that closely resemble those found in the most upscale apartment complexes.

Brad Hunter of real estate consulting firm Hunter Housing Economics said 64,000 units were started last year throughout the nation for BFR communities.

“It’s probably going to 80,000 this year, 2021, and 100,000 in 2022,” he said on a LinkedIn video discussing BFR communities. “My estimate is $40 billion has been recently earmarked or is coming in the next six months for BFR.”

Earlier this month, Transcendent Investment Management and Electra America created a joint venture with plans to spend billions to buy and build SFR houses. Two SFR REITs, American Homes 4 Rent and Invitation Homes Inc., also recently announced double-digit percentage increases on rents.

In Central Florida, D.R. Horton is developing a BFR community Apopka and AH4R in St. Cloud.

AH4R owns 53,000 single-family properties across 22 states, including 1,700 in the Orlando metro area. The company began expanding its Central Florida portfolio with smaller purpose-built rental subdivisions, including Zarabrooke, a 14-lot subdivision in Apopka, and Celery Cove, a 37-home subdivision in Sanford.

Principals with South Florida-based EDEN Multifamily recently launched EDEN Living, a new horizontal apartment development firm with plans to build 1,000 units throughout the southeast this year.

NexMetro Communities, which has been building luxury leased home communities in the Southwestern U.S. for over a decade, opened a Central Florida division last year and will launch its first project in the Tampa market.

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 Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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