With a vision for continuity and the land to make it happen, Columnar Investments is bringing more than 4,000 homes and approximately 300,000 square feet of commercial in the Ovation community in Horizon West’s Village I to market with a master-planned feel.
“At Ovation, we wanted it to seem a little more put together, with more thought behind it, and wanted the groups involved to look at it as one huge master-planned community with six or seven builders, not eight subdivisions doing their own thing,” said Sean Froelich, Florida Division partner. “That really plays into one community selling 300 or 400 homes a year, rather than multiple smaller numbers.”
At build out, Ovation is expected to have 10 residential neighborhoods with more than 2,700 single-family homes and 900 townhomes, and more than 600 apartments in two communities.
Columnar owns approximately 70 percent of the land in Village I, and a partnership with another owner gets participation to the 80 percent range, Froelich said. By comparison, Boyd Development owns about 40 percent of the village that contains its Hamlin development that's currently home to numerous active projects.
Ovation will have about 9 different subcommittees with a consistent feel. Water is abundant, with five natural lakes: Lake Star, Lake Mac, Lake Oliver, Lake Gifford and Doe Lake. Previous Columnar developments were similar to the rest of Horizon West, Froelich said, in that they were set among other product with differing construction appearances and even details such as varying fence designs clashing scattered throughout.
“It helps you deal with competition, that somebody’s not going to come along and develop anything out there next to you that’s not up to your standard, and it kind of creates symmetry between all the other builders,” Froelich said.
The effort began five years, ago, he said, with Columnar’s first purchase.
“It’s more about marketing within the builders and the developers,” Froelich said. “The builders take that collateral material and create their story around it. It enables the understanding that neighbors will be held to the same standards; it protects them, protects the future community they still have to sell.”
So far, five neighborhoods have builders committed for 1,800 residential units, with K. Hovnanian Homes under development on Winding Bay at Ovation and M/I Homes starting development in January on Encore at Ovation.
“It could easily have been done broken apart, but that’s not who we are,” he said.
Horizon West’s rapid rate of development stems in part from seeing few other parts of the region offering similar plentiful product with relative proximity to jobs and entertainment.
“Apopka is starting to come into its own, but when you compare the ‘grown up’ [development-stage] aspect, with support for the community such as schools and commercial, etc., it’s Horizon West or Lake Nona.”