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A rendering of Hamlin Town Center overlooking Lake Hancock. The town center sits outside of Village I, to the north, and is being master-planned by Boyd Development.
A rendering of Hamlin Town Center overlooking Lake Hancock. The town center sits outside of Village I, to the north, and is being master-planned by Boyd Development. (Orange County)

Mention Horizon West, and you may hear about its 850-acre Town Center overlooking Lake Hancock, a planned 220-acre regional park that’s roughly a third of the size of New York City’s Central Park, or its new medical campus that will feature a proton therapy center.

And then there’s the thousands of rooftops being planned if not completed already.

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Horizon West is one of the fastest growing master-planned communities in the United States, and while most of its five villages are being built out, Village I remains mostly undeveloped — but that may soon change.

An aerial map of Horizon West's Villages and Town Center.
An aerial map of Horizon West's Villages and Town Center. (Orange County)

No less than 11 Planned Developments are going through Orange County’s permitting process, Poulos and Bennett’s Kathy Hattaway said at a recent ULI Central Florida event regarding the planning, infrastructure and market analysis for Village I.

Earlier this month, at least four PDs in Village I went before the county’s Development Review Committee, two of which are going through the amendment process.

District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey was a speaker at the event. She said Village I is the “last piece of Horizon West.”

It sits west of State Road 429, with the border of Lake County to its west. It’s the southernmost village within Horizon West.

At build-out, the approximately 2,130-acre village could accommodate about 2,500 single-family homes, 1,200 townhomes, 1,200 multifamily units and up to 400,000 square feet of commercial space.

Columnar Investments owns about 70 percent of the land in Village I. By comparison, Boyd Development owns about 40 percent of the Town Center that contains its Hamlin development.

Columnar is master-planning the Ovation community in Village I, which consists of eight neighborhoods of single-family homes, townhomes, offices and three schools. There will also be a centrally located village town center.

The developer is teaming up with Place Alliance, Poulos and Bennett and Bonnett Design Group to bring the community together.

An aerial map of the Ovation community in Horizon West’s Village I.
An aerial map of the Ovation community in Horizon West’s Village I. (Columnar Investments)

So far, K. Hovnanian Homes and M/I Homes have signed on to Columnar’s Ovation community.

K. Hovanian is developing Winding Bay at Ovation, 416-unit single-family and townhome community at 11030 Hanlon Terrace Alley. M/I Homes is developing Encore at Ovation, a 432-unit community at 17776 Flemings Road, on the western edge of Ovation with frontage on Lake Mac.

Other lakes within Village I include Lake Star, Lake Oliver, Lake Gifford and Doe Lake.

Without disclosing the names of the home builders, Sean Froelich, Columnar’s Florida division partner, told GrowthSpotter at least two developers are under contract within its Northlake neighborhood.

The 200-acre community is being prepped for 383 single-family and townhome units and is situated in the heart of Ovation on the north shore of Lake Star. According to a marketing brochure, site development can start as early as fall.

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Autumn at Ovation is expected to go under contract soon, Froelich said. The lakefront neighborhood will have a mix of single-family homes and townhomes.

Other neighborhoods include Ovation at Lakeside, a 200-acre, 488-unit community at the entrance of Ovation. Harvest at Ovation is a planned 446-unit residential community on the eastern edge of Ovation.

Serenade at Ovation is another planned neighborhood, which will feature lakefront living on Lake Oliver. Froelich said Columnar has yet to garner a contract for the neighborhood.

Accolades at Ovation is situated off Avalon Road and Grove Blossom Way and can potentially feature up to 500 vacation units. Froelich said the site may be carved out, in which case the development will likely become a resort.

Village I and Horizon West

Village I sits parallel to Disney’s 450-acre Flamingo Crossings master-planned community, which is set for about 1,300 multifamily units for its college intern program, 5,000 hotel and timeshare units and more than 350,000 square feet of retail space.

Also helping lure development in the area is the expansion of the Western Way and Harzog Road thoroughfares.

Western Way, which runs through Flamingo Crossings, is being constructed as a new four-lane roadway that will extend roughly 1.6 miles west to Avalon Road. The road serves as a connection to the western entrance of Walt Disney World Resort.

As of July 2019, there are about 18,440 households with an average home value of $343,312 and median price being $326,431 in Horizon West, according to the Horizon West Census Designated Place.

Last year there were 13,792 households with an average home value of $333,370 and median price of $294,041.

Thanks in part to its proximity and access into Lake County, homes in Village I were designed with smaller lots, Chassity Vega, CEO of the Greater Orlando Builders Association, said at the ULI event. She said you’ll find more affordable homes with 50-foot lots or less in the village.

“It needs to keep with the surrounding price points,” Vega said at the event. In comparison Village of Bridgewater features homes on 70-foot lots.

Village of Bridgewater’s town center, Summerport Village, is under construction with at least half of it built out. Some of the larger neighborhoods include Summerport, Independence, Summerlake and Orchard Hills/Park. According Horizon West Happenings, food truck events happen every second Friday of the month at the village.

But while some of the primary villages come into fruition, Village I developers are feeling the squeeze of Horizon West’s rapid growth.

With little room left to develop new schools, some developments have had to come up with solutions with Orange County Public Schools, which is obligated to provide relief to existing schools packed with students.

One of Horizon West’s newest high schools, Windermere High School, opened in 2017 as a relief school for West Orange High School. But according to the Orlando Sentinel, the school is over capacity with enrollment topping 3,300 students on a campus meant for 2,750.

OCPS still is currently looking for available land to develop a new high school.

“We obviously have a school problem,” VanderLey said at the event. “The last thing we want to do is slow you guys down.”

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She continued to stress how the villages will all be interconnected through parks and trails but added she did not expect the fast growth of Horizon West.

At the event, VanderLey said planners on both the private and public sides need to "create a social fabric in a place where people have been parachuting in.”

Correction: This story has been updated to attribute a quote to Kathy Hattaway that was incorrectly attributed to Commissioner Betsy VanderLey.

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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