Pulte Homes Corp. paid $14.9 million on Friday with another $11.5 million paid by land banking agent Sun Terra Communities for 158 net-developable acres around Ruby Lake, where the home builder plans a gated luxury lakefront community a short drive from Disney Springs.
Unicorp National Developments and developer Dwight Saathoff's firm Project Finance & Development joint-ventured over the past year to re-entitle the commercially zoned property for single-family residential. They found a buyer in Pulte for property owner DFD One, an LLC tied to Chicago-based advisory group MorrisAnderson that represents a group of lenders on the property.
The JV duo successfully re-entitled about three-quarters of the property in recent months for 236 single-family lots surrounding Ruby Lake. They also retained control of a 15-acre portion of the property near where Daryl Carter Parkway meets Palm Parkway, with plans for a future townhouse project, Saathoff said Monday.
Pulte's Ruby Lake Estates will have 231 lots for single-family homes that should start at $500,000.
The home builder will develop the property in two phases. The first will include 130 lots it acquired Friday, while Phase II will include 101 lots that Sun Terra bought, for eventual sale to Pulte in 2017 for development.
"Builders do land banking because it helps them improve their return on assets," said John Kraynick, principal with Sun Terra. "For some, a subdivision project is only given a certain amount of capital allocation, so they try to leverage that in order to buy more property."
Sun Terra has an option agreement signed for Pulte to buy the Phase II land by Oct. 30, 2017. The land banking agent acquired a loan of $5.8 million from Maitland-based Axion Bank to buy its portion of the property.
Pulte has all its necessary permits in place and should break ground on Phase I within a few months, Kraynick said. The development's Preliminary Subdivision Plan (PSP) for Lot 3 of the Ruby Lake PD was approved by Orange County's Board of County Commissioners in late September.
The property is bordered to the north by Hilton Resorts Corp.'s Grand Vacations Parc Soleil Resort, and to the east by Palm Parkway and I-4.
The gated neighborhood will feature homes of 1,941 square feet to 5,000 square feet with seven beds and seven baths, natural gas line infrastructure, access to Dr. Phillips public schools, and a clubhouse with resort-style pool and children's playground.