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Tampa boutique real estate firm is eyeing a spot near UCF for student housing project

The proposed project site at 12175 Science Drive currently holds the 26-unit Pine Ridge Terrace Apartments community, built in 1982.
The proposed project site at 12175 Science Drive currently holds the 26-unit Pine Ridge Terrace Apartments community, built in 1982. (Orange County)

The 908 Group, a Tampa-based boutique real estate firm, wants to tear down an old rental complex near the University of Central Florida so it may develop residences for students.

According to plans recently submitted in Orange County, the company is seeking to rezone 3.82 acres in order to construct a student housing project at 12175 Science Drive.

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The site currently holds the four-building, 26-unit Pine Ridge Terrace Apartments community, built in 1982.

908 Group Holdings LLC is listed as the developer in filed plans. Rex Cole, based out of the company’s Miami office, is the project manager.

The company's student housing arm is developing luxury rental projects by Florida International University, Penn State in Pennsylvania and Emory University in Atlanta.

Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. is the civil engineer. Rebecca Wilson, an attorney and shareholder with Lowndes, is representing the current owners of the property, Kamlawatee and Davaswarnauth Shiwlochan.

The sellers are seeking waivers to allow for five-story buildings that can accommodate up to 764 bedrooms across 191 units. Other waivers seek rights to allow for a six-foot vegetation buffer in lieu of a six-foot high solidified wall structure adjacent to right-of-way.

A site plan shows the project will surround a five-story parking garage and consist of a clubhouse, amenity center and dog park. Representatives at the company were not immediately available to comment.

Records show the current owners paid $1.3 million for the property in 2004. The site sits about a half mile south from campus, on the northwest corner of Science Drive and Technology Parkway.

The 908 Group has developed projects in Texas, Alabama and Tennessee. In Florida, the developer built multifamily and student housing projects in Tallahassee, Gainesville and St. Petersburg.

If successful, the project near UCF will be 908 Group’s first in Orlando.

Other student housing developers in the area with plans or recently completed projects include Toll Brothers, which wants to build a 170-unit student housing community at 12727 E. Colonial Drive.

Nearby, Athens, Georgia-based Landmark Properties has plans to develop a roughly 150-unit student housing community where an old Burlington store currently stands at 12151 E. Colonial Drive.

Last year, Catalyst Development Partners opened the Coda Apartments. The new $42 million multifamily project at 13645 E. Colonial Dr. features 296 units. Its sister project, the EOS Apartments sold for $52 million in 2016 after it was completed in late 2014.

Projects with less dense unit configurations to support social distancing will likely perform better amid the COVID-19 crisis, experts say. The future success of all proposed student housing developments also greatly depends on whether schools are able to reopen for the 2020-2021 academic year.

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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