Dallas-based Encore Enterprises has a site under contract near The Mall at Millenia to make its Orlando market entry, with plans for 215 apartments on the last infill tract of a failed golf course project.
Located at 2429 Americana Blvd., the 12.5-acre parcel lies northeast of the intersection with S. John Young Parkway, neighbored by the Publix-anchored Parkway Plaza and the vast Park Central Condominiums.
It's the last remaining undeveloped tract from a 450-acre golf course that was developed in the 1960s, later failed and was sold off piecemeal for residential development, with more than 1,000 apartments and condo units permitted through its Planned Unit Development.
Owners from Northern Florida are eager to develop 36 acres they've owned near Orlando's Mall at Millenia since the mid-1970s, as soon as work starts by Orange County on extending Holden Avenue this year. But the land may also face exorbitant wetland mitigation costs.
"What attracted us to the site is the fact we'll be down the street from the second most profitable mall in America," Bradley Miller, president of affiliate Encore Multi-Family, LLC, told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday.
The former 20-year residential development partner for Lincoln Property Company in Tampa is leading Encore's re-entry plans for Central Florida.
"Being near that jobs driver in (The Mall at Millenia), and all the job growth in the market as a whole, helped make this the right opportunity to get back in that market," he continued. "We hope it's the first of many in (Greater Orlando)."
Encore's multifamily division was launched in 2008, and now has about 4,000 units nationwide in its portfolio. The parent company currently has two hotel assets in Florida, but this would be its first apartments project in the state.
Encore expects to close on the land in Second Quarter 2018, and close on its construction financing in September or October before a groundbreaking estimated for shortly after, Miller said.
The developer will begin interviewing general contractors this week in Orlando to start its preconstruction planning, and should make a final GC selection in March or April, he added.
Berkadia Commercial Mortgage is a prospective lender at this time based on an established relationship, but construction financing for the estimated $32 million project will be explored in the market, Miller said.
A Specific Parcel Master Plan, to be submitted to the city of Orlando next week, will show 215 Class-A apartments across multiple three-story buildings.
The site should offer 7.5 developable acres after about 5 acres are dedicated to wetland mitigation and a future retention pond, Miller said.
Encore's team has met with the Army Corps of Engineers, and is nearing a final agreement on wetland boundaries on the property.
Bill Parke with Colliers International Central Florida has been marketing the site since February 2014 on behalf of the ownership group.
"It's a challenging property that had been under contract for a period last year, but that previous buyer fell through late in their due diligence," Parke said.
Harvey Budd, a city commissioner in Gainesville and founder of Budd Broadcasting Company in that market, holds a stake in the property along with his brother-in-law Paul Hennes, a retired real estate attorney also of Gainesville.
"This is the last major piece of a jigsaw puzzle stemming from Paul's plans in the 1960s to build this golf course with homes around it," Budd said. "I feel this buyer is much more organized than the last, and will make (the purchase) happen."