Highlighted in blue are the 11 acres recently acquired by a Park Square Homes affiliate, located in the 12000 block of E. Colonial Drive, north of Waterford Lakes Town Center.
Highlighted in blue are the 11 acres recently acquired by a Park Square Homes affiliate, located in the 12000 block of E. Colonial Drive, north of Waterford Lakes Town Center. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

An affiliate of Park Square Homes paid $5 million in late April for 11.44 acres south of UCF, where the company plans to develop a mix of apartments and retail, its second step in the past year to diversify beyond single-family home projects, CEO Suresh Gupta told GrowthSpotter.

Located in the 12000 block of E. Colonial Drive east of N. Alafaya Trail, the property lies directly between Waterford Lakes Town Center and the University of Central Florida.

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Gupta bought the land via an LLC affiliate, and with son Vishaal Gupta, Park Square's executive vice president, will pursue partial rezoning to develop the rear 8 acres for up to 250 apartments, and the front 3 acres as commercial pads for retail or dining.

"When the recession hit the housing market years ago we were twiddling our thumbs, saying we should have diversified as we saw apartments and retail doing well," Gupta said. "We had put all our eggs in one basket then. We've since hired Steve Parker (at Park Square) to focus on the home-building side, and now me and my son are focusing on these new endeavors."

The Guptas' first effort to diversify began last Fall at ChampionsGate, when they introduced plans for project Champions Vue with 20 ares of apartments and 20 acres of commercial at the community's entrance on U.S. Highway 27.

Orlando developer preps retail, apartments at ChampionsGate

The 326-unit class A apartment project is already permitted and "shovel ready." Construction on the shopping center will start a year later.

Gupta said he was attracted to the E. Colonial Drive property by knowing the previous land owners well, hearing good analysis from brokers about area traffic, and seeing first-hard that a neighboring apartment complex commanded high rents and occupancy.

Currently zoned for commercial use, Gupta will have to rezone more than half the property for multi-family use, an application he expects to file with Orange County by late June.

He has yet to hire a civil engineer or architect for the commercial frontage, and is expecting two to three LOIs to come in over the next month from interested restaurant companies.

"Our intention is to own and operate long-term ourselves," Gupta said. "(Construction firms) have told me about $105 per square foot to build these projects, without the land cost. So we'll work out the estimate numbers."

The buyer acquired a mortgage worth $2.82 million from IberiaBank in Orlando.

The seller was Laan Hospitalities LLC, based in Ocala.

Editor's Note: The second paragraph of this story was updated Monday morning to correct a directional reference; the property lies east of N. Alafaya Trail, not west of it. 

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

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