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Toll Brothers adding townhouses, senior units to offerings

Toll Brothers' version of a townhouse, a new offering the homebuilder plans.
Toll Brothers' version of a townhouse, a new offering the homebuilder plans.

Toll Brothers, known for creating communities full of multi-million dollar homes, is tinkering with its business model and planning to include townhouses at every Central Florida development it builds going forward.

The company will also start offering with some homes the option of having a suite with a separate entrance so parents or grandparents can be a part of the household.

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Toll is taking the steps "to provide more lifestyle flexibility," said Andre Vidrine, head of Toll Brothers in Central Florida.

"We're not just going to be doing million dollar homes anymore," Vidrine told GrowthSpotter. "We anticipate being able to provide quality upscale living to a much larger audience of buyer."

For instance, those people moving to Central Florida who want a Toll house will find "greater affordability" with a townhouse, Vidrine said.

While Vidrine said the company is not releasing prices for the townhouses yet, he did say they will be priced "well below" Toll's $1 million average home cost for Central Florida.

But the townhomes will still be done in Toll's upscale style, with footprints ranging from 1,900 square feet to 2,700 square feet and amenities like master suites and gourmet kitchens.

Vidrine, who lives in a townhouse himself, said he identifies with "the easy lifestyle they offer," given all of the outside maintenance that is provided.

And regarding the suite for parents or grandparents, "we're just following demographic trends" that show people living longer, he said.

Toll Brothers has built nine communities in the Orlando area over the last decade and in early 2016 will introduce another, LakeShore, in Horizons West, at the intersection of SR 429 and Seidel Road. LakeShore is the largest subdivision Toll has ever built in Central Florida, spanning 180 acres and containing 365 homes.

And while Central Florida sales for the fiscal year that closes at the end of this month will come in 50 percent higher than projected, like other homebuilders, Toll is finding it hard to find quality land that is near transportation hubs and good schools. This is particularly true in Orange and Seminole counties, Vidrine said.

As a result, Vidrine said he is "hunting for land" for Toll's next Central Florida community. "There is not an oversupply of lots in good locations," he said. "We are in negotiations with several landowners and developers."

Once found, land is 30 percent to 35 percent more expensive than it was five years ago, Vidrine said.

And building costs have also gone up considerably, with labor being the biggest outlay, he said.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at ktalley@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-5176. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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