A Miami developer known for building luxury high-rise condo towers has been selected as the multifamily partner for the I-Drive resort development south of Dezerland.
Altis Cardinal has filed a Specific Parcel Master Plan for 340-unit apartment complex on the 3.7-acre site just outside the entrance of Lennar’s Storey Drive Resort community. The plan calls for a 5-story building with two courtyards and an attached 6-level parking garage.
“Orlando is a very desirable market which is known both here in the U.S. and internationally as a destination point,” Altis Cardinal Principal Anthony Seijas told GrowthSpotter. “We’re very bullish on Florida and the need for more multifamily housing as the affordability of for-sale housing continues to be an issue because of rising prices.”
Altis Cardinal has been eyeing an entry into the market for some time. In 2019, the company signed on as a joint venture partner with Mosaic Development on a 280-unit apartment community in downtown Kissimmee but backed out of the project. He estimates the project budget for the I-Drive site will be between $75 million and $80 million.
The proposed development matrix creates five different unit sizes: efficiency (26); studio (14); one-bedroom (156); two-bedroom (97); and three-bedroom (15). Seijas said the smaller units were added to bring an affordable component to the market-rate community.
“We did feel it would be prudent to add a small amount of smaller studios to the unit mix to make it attainable for the individual who lives alone and works in the area and needs a rent he can afford,” he said.
The development team is still working out the details of its amenity package to align with what’s been successful in the Orlando market. “The one common theme we do seem to get back is need for outdoor spaces where people can congregate but still feel safe from a distance standpoint,” Seijas said. “We’re still trying to figure out the details of what some of the spaces will look and feel like. We’re looking at having some outdoor fitness areas — not just a yoga lawn, but some areas where people can do cross fit training.”
The property is owned by Coral Gables-based Southern Hill Real Estate, which sold the bulk of the 77-acre site to Lennar for $26.25 million in late 2019. Southern Hill retained about 10 acres on the northwest corner of the property and had entitlements for 300 hotel rooms and 90,000 square feet of commercial and retail uses under the Planned Development.
Earlier this summer, Southern Hill applied for a PD amendment to allow for up to 340 multifamily units and cap the commercial space at 10,000 square feet. The number of hotel rooms would increase slightly, to 310.
“We’re working with hotel developer and we’re working on an initial design,” Hill said. The concept calls for a dual-branded hotel that would max out the hotel entitlements. Construction on the hotel could start in 2022, while the commercial/retail space would be split off and developed separately, he said.
Seijas, a former regional vice president for Lennar, made the introductions and helped facilitate the deal between Hill and the building for the resort. “So when this opportunity came about, he reached out to me,” Seijas said. “We discussed it and worked together to come up with a great business opportunity.”
The North I-Drive tourism corridor has seen retail sites converted for development of high-end apartments. Tampa-based American Landmark Apartments and Dezer Development are currently building the first of three multifamily communities approved on the Dezerland parking lot at the former Artegon Marketplace, immediately north of the Storey Drive site.
And Bainbridge Companies, a South Florida-based luxury multifamily developer has approved plans to build a 397-unit community on the site of the former Mystery Fun House at 5767 Major Blvd., between S. Kirkman Road and Interstate 4.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated to include comments from Anthony Seijas.