The capital markets are still bullish on Central Florida, especially as demand for new housing soars. The last week of May saw lenders approve about $200 million in construction loans for five new Class A apartment communities in Kissimmee, Davenport and near Lake Nona.
Crescent Communities will break ground this month on its fourth multifamily community in the region. Located along Narcoossee Road, NOVEL Nona will offer 260 luxury apartment residences overlooking Lake Whippoorwill.
“We look forward to this opportunity to be part of Orlando’s incredible Lake Nona neighborhood,” says Tim Graff, Managing Director Florida for Crescent Communities. “This area continues to grow at a promising rate, and we are thrilled to build a community within this thriving market. NOVEL Nona will provide residents with the best-in-class offerings and wellness-focused amenities that will not only complement, but elevate their lifestyle.”
Crescent Communities purchased the land on May 27 for $6 million with $40.1 million in construction financing provided by Santander. Construction is set to begin June 2021, with the first residences slated to be delivered later next year.
The residences at NOVEL Nona will be housed in a four-story wood-frame building with enclosed, conditioned corridors and elevator serviced buildings. Residents will have a choice between studio, one- and two-bedroom offerings in a range of floor plans. In addition, the community will also feature luxury finishes in both the community spaces and residences and a resort-style, saltwater pool with premium lakefront views.
Construction of the luxury community will be handled by DeAngelis Diamond. Lead architect is Dwell Design Studio, with additional design consultancy from 505 Design. Madden Morehead and Stokes is handling civil engineering needs with landscape architecture directed by Dix.Hite Partners and interior design by CID Design Group.
Nearby, luxury apartment developer Bainbridge Companies scored a $33 million construction loan from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce for its 252-unit Bainbridge Nona North apartment community on the northwest corner of Airport Park Drive and E. Wetherbee Road.
Bainbridge Nona North will be made up of three, low-rise apartment buildings, a community clubhouse, a dog park, and four garage structures. Amenities include a playground, outdoor fitness area, pool deck area, and secondary courtyard.
According to its website, Bainbridge Nona North will be built by its in-house construction team and should be completed next year. Records show Bainbridge acquired the 14-acre site simultaneously with the construction loan. The multifamily developer paid $5.54 million for the site at 2410 Canopy Breeze Circle.
In 2018, Bainbridge completed its 288-unit Bainbridge at Nona Place apartment community with CNL Financial Group. The joint venture sold it a year later for $73.8 million.
A joint venture of Orlando’s Elevation Development and The Latigo Group out of Los Angeles secured a $45 million construction loan on May 26 from Principal Life Insurance Company for the first phase of their Ball Park Village project. The Kissimmee site is the former Osceola County Softball Complex just off John Young Parkway. Elevation paid the county $6.125 million in late January for the 25-acre site and received approval for the Site Development Plan in March.
The JV will develop two sister communities with a combined 640 units. They’re calling it Ball Park Village, and the first complex will be called The Infield Apartments. The first phase will have 384 units and will be on the northern half of the site, along Ball Park Road, and has an estimated development cost of $60 million.
“We’re already pushing dirt around up there and will go vertical in about 30 days and deliver the first units in about 14 months,” Latigo Co-Founder Scott Whittaker said. Seawood Builders of Deerfield Beach is the general contractor. The team will follow up with Phase 2 in about 10 months, giving them about a year to lease up the first section.
Whittaker said the pool is “next-level,” and the two-story clubhouse includes a full wellness spa with sauna, a golf simulator, coworking spaces and a kitchen outfitted with Bosch appliances. “There’s a lot of competition from new product. That’s because there’s a lot of demand because of the job growth. We’ve got to bring something to market that’s different and better – that’s how we insulate ourselves from the competition.”
Aventura-based Landmark Companies is also moving forward with 247 units on its 10.9-acre site close to NeoCity for its second local project.
Landmark closed on the property in August 2020 for $2.5 million and flipped it the same day to investment partners for $4.5 million. Both were cash transactions. Legacy Development Holdings, which traces to Interforum Holdings, was assigned a 44.4% interest, while New York-based DBI Realty acquired a 55.6% interest.
“Their business model is the partner model, so they were able to bring in some new financing partners,” Calcanis said.
The financing came through on May 24 in the form of a $40.1 million loan from GGP Kissimmee Funder, an affiliate of Brookfield Properties.
The plan by Forum Architecture calls for three buildings, all 4-story elevator-served, with the clubhouse incorporated into the first residential building. Ground floor units will have a unique feature: private fenced yards.
“It’s something that’s really popular for pet owners,” Landmark’s David Caldea said. “We can do it at minimal cost, so it doesn’t really affect the overall budget.”
Flournoy Partners paid $7.9 million on May 26 for a 7-acre site in Posner Village with plans to develop a 314-unit luxury apartment community called Apex Posner Park. The Columbus, Georgia-based developer received $41.7 million in construction financing from Valley National Bank.
“We intend for it be a best-in-class, luxury product with resort-style pool and all the accouterments, fire pit, green space and hammock gardens throughout,” Jake Flournoy told GrowthSpotter. He said the buildings will be 4-story, elevator-served with air-conditioned corridors and tuck-under garages. “It’s uniquely located because it’s in the center of a major shopping center with pedestrian access to major retailers and restaurants and a movie theater.”
Atlanta-based Gehaber, Lewis and Associates is the project architect; Kimley Horn’s Lakeland office led the civil engineering work. The general contractor is Walker and Company. Marble Capital is the preferred equity partner.
Flournoy said they intend to start construction this month and will deliver the first units in just over a year. The community will be gated, and the buildings themselves will also have secured access to each building.
The developer told GrowthSpotter he was worried that sky-high lumber costs could scuttle the deal, but Central Florida’s robust economy post-COVID and strong lease-up of other Flournoy communities during the pandemic gave him the confidence to move forward with Posner. The company is on schedule to close on another multifamily project in Apopka in the fourth quarter.
“Honestly, our lumber package doubled in the span of six months, and we’re very grateful for our lender and our equity partner because they were very understanding,” Flournoy said. “We’ve been pushing rents higher and higher on a weekly basis, and we can’t see that lumber is going to be coming down anytime soon, at least in Florida. The future is a big question mark.”
Metro Orlando was one of the top performers nationally in apartment development, with 8,652 apartment starts in 2020, according to RealPage, a real estate software and analytics firm.
A total of 7,425 new apartments were completed in the year ending in March, according to RealPage data. Nearly 15,150 units are under construction in metro Orlando, and about 10,422 of those units are scheduled to complete within the next 12 months.
Earlier last month, developer Collier Companies broke ground on a 336-unit multifamily project 2695 S. Orange Blossom Trail with the help of a $45.15 million construction loan from Wells Fargo & Company.
Plans call for a gated garden-style multifamily community comprised of a mix of two- and three-story residential buildings and a clubhouse featuring a swimming pool overlooking Lake Betty.