Residential Property Developments

Mortgage broker preps lakefront site near Ocoee for entry-level townhomes

A veteran local mortgage broker has a lakefront acre near Ocoee with plans for townhomes priced toward first-time buyers, and will seek county approvals and a general contractor in the coming months.

Located at 803 Pahoa St., the 1.05-acre parcel faces Lake Sherwood, and lies northeast of the intersection of W. Colonial Drive and Good Homes Road and two miles east of Ocoee's West Oaks Mall.


Eric Papalini, co-founder of EquitiFirst Mortgage, moved to Florida 22 years ago from California and has dabbled in residential development for the past 15 years, with more than 80 townhomes and hundreds of single-family lots led through construction by himself and partners.

"I'm looking for infill projects now, and this property is ideal," he told GrowthSpotter on Friday. "In the mortgage business I'm seeing what buyers are looking for and what builders aren't providing. I see a clear demand and opportunity for homes priced for first-time buyers."


Papalini paid $155,000 for the property in February 2014, now occupied by a 40-year-old home.

He sought the advice of Orange County planning and zoning staff in recent months on what the best and highest use would be in redeveloping the property. They recommended rezoning to a Planned Development, and showed him similar townhouse projects on limited acreage.

Papalini will hold a pre-application meeting with county staff on March 15. His goal is to develop eight three-story townhomes of 1,800-2,000 square feet each, which include three bedrooms, three baths, and a walkout basement/bonus room.

Papalini is sole investor in the project, and expects to fund development and construction with his own equity. Pre-sale listings on the homes may start at $200,000, which he expects to sell quickly through an established network of real estate agents.

County staff have estimated as much as five months to work through rezoning, plan and permit approvals, Papalini said. He has yet to sign a general contractor, and is looking for one familiar with multifamily or townhome construction.

KTB Design Group is architect on the project, and Jim Fraser of Central Florida Engineering, Inc., is civil engineer.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.