The prominent Central Florida developer behind attractions such as Orlando’s Icon Park and the not-yet-complete mixed-use site The Village at O-Town West in Orlando has staked itself to another project — this one focused on housing for renters and homebuyers.
Unicorp National Developments is planning to build 300 apartment units across five parcels of land totaling 139 acres on Avalon Road near Winter Garden. The developer will also make lots shovel-ready for as many as 250 single family homes.
The project, titled “Sutton Lakes PD,” also includes a 20,000 square-foot space for commercial use.
A permit application for the project was submitted to Orange County on April 5. A zoning change must be approved by the county in order for multi-family homes to be permitted on the vacant land.
For the single-family housing piece of the concept, Unicorp will prepare the lots and then sell them off to homebuilders.
While design details are not yet known, Chuck Whittall, Unicorp’s president, said the finished product, if approved, will address a need for more residential options in the growing area.
“The area is in need of more housing,” he told GrowthSpotter in a phone call, “and we think this a great opportunity to bring more housing to that area. That whole sector is growing.”
Whittall’s workload is also growing. He said Unicorp has more than 20 development projects currently in the works across Florida. Locally, these include the following:
- The Villages at O-Town West in Orlando, a mixed-use development that is already home to restaurants, including the world’s largest White Castle, retailers, hotels, apartments and more.
This location will also include the new headquarters for the Orlando-based public timeshare company Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp, a nine-story, 300,000-square-foot building that broke ground in August. Expected to accommodate 1,500 employees, the project is the largest single office space currently under construction in Orlando, and is expected to be finished by 2023, according to the developer’s website.
- Celebration Pointe, a planned 127,277-square-foot, $100 million-plus mixed-use development near Interstate 4 and World Drive in Celebration that began construction in August and will be anchored by a Publix shopping center.
- Carmel community, an 11-lot upscale residential community in Dr. Phillips where Whittall is building his own 20,000-square-foot mansion.
- The luxury-branded Ritz Carlton Residences in Orlando, a high-end gated residential community within the Orlando Grande Lakes Resort that includes 37-lots, an owners’ clubhouse and nine homes that sold for an average of $2.3 million in 2021.
“We are staying super busy,” Whittall said.
The Sutton Lakes project in Winter Garden is planned for property owned by Westgate Resorts, an Orando-based timeshare company with 29 locations nationwide.
Westgate’s acquisitions of some of the parcels along Avalon Road date back to 1997. Others were purchased in 2019, property records show.
“We’ve just been sitting on (the land) waiting for the market,” said Mark Waltrip, the chief operating officer of Westgate Resorts, “and the market is definitely here.”