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Multi-Family Residential Developments

Massive mixed-use project with close to 3,000 apartments planned for Apopka’s Kelly Park district

The owner of more than 230 acres in Apopka is proposing to deliver the city’s largest mixed-use community to date with more than 2,900 apartments and over a million square feet of retail, commercial, and industrial space.

If approved, Evans Properties would bring a long-awaited village center with shops, restaurants, multifamily housing and more to the Kelly Park Interchange District, which has become a red-hot area for single-family residential growth along Kelly Park Road on each side of State Road 429.

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A project of this scope has been envisioned by city leaders for more than a decade. An earlier development concept for this property emerged in the early 2000s but fell through. Evans Properties, a family-owned agricultural and land-management company based in Vero Beach, secured the bulk of the land via auction earlier this year in a deal totaling $44 million.

The company, using an entity titled Kelly Park Vb Development LLC, then acquired two neighboring parcels in May and June for a total of $16.4 million before preparing to build out the community dubbed Kelly Park Crossings.

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Despite concerns about the condition of Golden Gem Road, a county road without speed limit signs that runs along the western edge of the site, the city’s planning division on Sept. 13 voted 4-1 to approve a request to rezone the agricultural property to a mixed-use designation.

The city is also being asked to approve a lengthy agreement with the developer, which is offering to extend and widen sections of Effie and Sadler Roads in exchange for impact fee credits.

The agreement, drafted by Tara Tedrow, a land-use attorney with Lowndes law firm, also stipulates that the developer can sell off some of its property to other developers.

Ron Evans, the owner of Evans Properties, did not return requests for comment about this project.

An early master development plan submitted to the city by engineering firm Kimley Horn shows the site divided into four districts: Village Center District, Interchange District, Employment District and Transition District.

The Village Center District, on the northwest edge of the property with the most frontage along Kelly Park Drive, would include the most residential units, as many as 1,150, along with 500,000 square feet of non-residential uses. The Employment District, on the back end of the property along the west side of SR 429, would feature the most non-residential space — as much as 1.8 million square feet — along with as many as 300 multifamily units.

The Interchange District, at the corner of Kelly Park Road and SR 429, calls for as many as 1,031 residential units and as much as 350,000 square feet of commercial space while the Transition District, the smallest, calls for as many as 450 apartment units and a maximum of 250,000 square feet on non-residential space along the

In total, Kelly Park Crossings would include a maximum of 2,931 multifamily residential units, 1.1 million square feet of non-residential office/commercial/retail uses, and up to 1.8 million square feet of industrial uses.

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“This would definitely be a destination,” the city’s community development director Jim Hitt told GrowthSpotter. “This is our north downtown, and it’s going to be a big area. This has been a very long-term vision.”

To accommodate the growth, the city plans to widen that stretch of Kelly Park Road, he said. The city also plans to make changes to its code to guide development in this area.

For example: The city wants to move away from stand-alone drive-through restaurants and require them to be part of a multi-tenant retail building.

“If you have a fast food (restaurant) with a drive-through, you have to combine it with other buildings,” Hitt said.

At the planning commission meeting on Sept. 13, the bulk of the discussion regarding this mixed-use project centered on traffic.

Planning commissioner Robert Ryan cast the lone vote to deny the rezoning request, citing concerns about the quality of Golden Gem Road, a county road.

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“I think everyone would agree that’s a substandard road,” he said, later adding. “There’s nothing more important than safety. That’s a substandard road and they want to increase traffic substantially there.”

Pam Richmond, the city’s transportation coordinator, said that the city has been urging the county to address that road for years.

The city, she says, intends to take over ownership of that road eventually, but not until the county makes improvements.

“The county needs to make improvements because (that road) is in terrible condition,” she said. “I don’t want to inherit the road that immediately I’ve got to drop a million dollars into it. That’s not fair to us. I can’t in good conscience take a road that’s in that bad of shape.”

The majority of the planning commission voted to approve the zoning request. Planning commissioner William Gusler said the developer shouldn’t be punished because a government entity has failed to upkeep its roads. “The applicant owns a piece of property and we can’t hold them hostage because Orange County or (the city) doesn’t improve the roads that are substandard. That’s not the fault of the applicant and it’s unfair to stop them.”

The rezoning request, the development agreement and site plans still need approval from the city commission.

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Apopka’s Kelly Park Interchange District has seen a surge of development activity in recent years — including the Publix-anchored Kelly Park Crossing. But most of the new construction has been on the residential side.

Recently, California-based homebuilder KB Home submitted plans to the city for 150 townhomes and 27 detached homes on 45 acres at the southwest intersection of Kelly Park Road and Chandler Road. That amounts to 5 units per acre.

Illinois-based Wingspan Development Group is teaming up with Tampa-based developer ABC Capital Corp to bring a mixed-use village with restaurants, retail space and apartments to the Kelly Park Interchange. The Village on Kelly Park development, if approved, would be a blend of indoor/outdoor cafes, sit-down restaurants and retail along with 388 apartments, according to plans.

Clearwater developer Mike Galvin is working on plans to bring 675 single-family residential units and 300 apartments to 180 acres between Effie Drive and Round Lake Road, just north of Kelly Park Road.

Pulte Homes is pursuing what could become its second residential community in the Kelly Park Interchange district, seeking to bring another 140 homes to 40 acres at 3100 Ondich Rd. and 5704, 5706 and 5708 Plymouth Sorrento Road.

And as DHI Residential, an affiliate of D.R. Horton, is now leasing homes within its new build-to-rent Avian Pointe community near US-441 and FL-429, Taurus Investment Holdings has started construction on the 276-unit multifamily phase of the project.

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Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at (407)-800-1161 or dwyatt@GrowthSpotter.com, or tweet me at @DustinWyattGS. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn


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