UPDATED: August 31, 2016 4:13 PM — Orlando-based Osprey Custom Homes is planning a row of 12 townhomes on 0.93 acres in southwest Winter Park, less than a block off S. Orlando Avenue. City staff have challenged the project's density, but pre-sale demand for similar zero-lot-line products has been high in the past year.
To be named Park Shore Townhomes, the three-bedroom units would average 1,865 square feet of air-conditioned area, with open floor plans and a rear-entry, two-car garage for each unit. Preconstruction pricing should start at $499,000.
Located on the northeast corner of Michigan and Schultz avenues and just around the corner from Krispy Kreme Donuts on S. Orlando, principals Nancy Rossman and Anthony Lightman are seeking conditional use approval to redevelop the vacant property with 12 two-story fee simple townhomes, with a total cumulative size of 28,510 square feet (255 feet in length, all connected).
This conditional approval is required for any building that exceeds 10,000 square feet. The application goes before Winter Park's Planning & Zoning Board on Sept. 6.
The development would be built in an area of Michigan, Miller, Indiana and Harmon avenues that is comprised of single-family homes and duplexes dating to the 1950s, but that has seen newer townhome development in recent years.
It's also surrounded on three sides by commercial and office, making it a "nice segway to the single-family neighborhood to the west," said Michael O'Shaughnessy of Michael O'Shaughnessy Real Estate Brokers, who was both listing and selling agent when Osprey acquired the site last July for $720,000.
The land was formerly owned by the family of Thomas Bledsoe, a veteran real estate appraiser in Orlando.
Osprey's plans are ready to submit for building permits, following conditional use approval by the city. First Quarter 2017 is the target for groundbreaking, pre-sale efforts could begin in late Fall, and Osprey would handle the pre-sale marketing. The company has no plans at this time to source a construction loan, principals said.
The property's size allows for 17 units per acre, which the project comes in below, but its building lot footprint is slightly above the 40 percent maximum lot coverage, necessitating a code variance.
The project may face a challenge earning P&Z Board approval, as city staff concluded in their report that the proposed plan is "overbuilding" on the property, isn't compatible with the surrounding area and doesn't satisfy key criteria for granting conditional use approval.
The developer may be circumventing the impervious coverage limits by introducing gravel inserts to the driveway, staff wrote, and variances are requested to support visitor parking that staff consider too limited.
Staff would recommend approval if the site plan was redesigned to divide the project into two separate buildings, with a minimum of 15 feet separation between and use of an underground stormwater exfiltration system. They want the developer to follow the template of the nearby Harper Place townhomes, a 21-unit project on Shultz Avenue built in 2004.
Harper Place was divided up into five buildings with no more than six units each. Planning staff argue that achieving compatibility with the neighborhood rests on Osprey's project providing open space between two separate buildings.
Rossman and Lightman have avoided that recommendation until now in their design, potentially because it would require then to drop one unit. Rossman declined to comment on the staff recommendations, but broker O'Shaughnessy said the city would benefit from reevaluating its code.
"That is not a residential-only neighborhood, I can assure you of that," he said. "I think Winter Park needs attractive projects, and developers and builders feel stymied by the code. When they can't have creativity, you'll get ugly and dated-looking projects."
Phil Kean Design Group has successfully pre-sold seven out of eight luxury brownstones it is building in a first phase on Morse Boulevard. A neighboring second phase on Morse, still working through density revisions with the city's P&Z Board, has five of 10 units pre-sold, Phil Kean said Wednesday.