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Multi-Family Residential Developments

DHI Communities wants to double down in Horizon West, plans second apartment community

DHI Communities completed Ascend Waterleigh in Horizon West last year and shortly after sold the 354-unit apartment complex for $91.6 million.

DHI Communities, a wholly-owned subsidiary of D.R. Horton that focuses on multifamily development, is planning another apartment complex in Horizon West’s fifth and final village: Village I.

The development company wants to build a new 270-unit garden-style apartment community, called Ascend at Avalon, on the northwest corner of Avalon Road and Lake Star Road, according to a recently filed Development Plan Review application.

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A conceptual site plan shows nine, 3-story apartment buildings and a large central community clubhouse next to a pool.

DHI Communities will often equip their projects with modern appliances and amenities.

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The proposed Ascend at Avalon multifamily community is being planned on about 37 acres that are part of a larger assemblage of land owned by Spring Grove Properties LLC.

The developer recently completed the 354-unit Ascend Waterleigh multifamily community in Horizon West, at 10091 Tuller Loop. Features at the community include a large fitness center with a yoga room and spin room, a heated saltwater pool with lounge chairs and cabanas, BBQ grilling stations, fire pits, and dog park with a grooming station.

Last year, DHI sold Ascend Waterleigh to a split-interest with ties to the Charleston-South Carolina investment management company PassiveInvesting.com for $91.6 million. The apartment complex was 90% occupied by April 2021. The buyer rebranded it Braxton Waterleigh.

Ascend on Avalon will be DHI Communties’ second apartment community in Horizon West.

Spring Grove Properties LLC, tied to Winter Park-based real estate company Hewitt Residential is the current owner of the property, which is located near Lake Star. The 37.04-acre tract of land along Avalon Road is part of a larger 228-acre parcel that Hewitt Residential owns.

Thomas Hewitt, a managing member at Hewitt Residential, said the company intends to preserve the remaining portion of the land. He adds the firm has been selling off chunks of the property to developers as mitigation credits.

Records show Spring Grove Properties LLC began prepping the 37 acres for multifamily development back in 2019 when it sought to rezone the property from (Citrus Rural District) A-1 to PD. An Adequate Public Facilities (APF) agreement was approved by the DRC in 2020.

In the past, Hewitt Residential has also worked with Davis Development. The Atlanta-based multifamily developer completed the 284-unit Solay Horizon West apartment community on property Hewitt Residential previously owned at 10996 Avalon Rd. Records show Davis Development paid $4.54 million for the 15.8 acres in 2019 and broke ground in 2020 with the help of a $34.54 million construction loan from Synovus Bank.

Hewitt Residential has also sold land in Horizon West to Lennar. Records show, between 2013 and 2015, Lennar paid Hewitt Residential a total of $18 million for the land where it built out its Storey Grove single-family community.

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Hewitt said the family-run company started investing in properties in Horizon West back in the 90s. “To know what the vision was early on and to see what it’s become...it’s pretty impressive,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Ascend at Avalon is being planned near a wave of new development set for Village I.

Nearby, M/I Homes is building out its Encore at Ovation community at 17776 Flemings Rd. Plans call for more than 400 homes from its Cottage and Bungalow series Last year, the homebuilder paid about $23 million for roughly 190 acres north of Flemings Road with plans to build up to an additional 364 single-family homes and 73 townhomes.

Across from Ascend at Avalon, K. Hovnanian is building out its Winding Bay at Ovation residential community, where townhomes start in the upper $200,000′s and larger single-family homes are selling in the mid-$400,000s.

Meanwhile, DHI is planning and building out large mixed-use communities in south Orlando and Apopka.

The development company is prepping two separate 100-plus-acre mixed-use communities near Lake Nona, known as the Ward Property PD and Wetherbee Acres.

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It’s also ramping up its single-family rental home development activity in the Kissimmee submarket and Apopka.

Last year, the builder paid $3.95 million for a 56-lot build-to-rent subdivision in Apopka that makes up the first phase of the large Avian Pointe master-planned community, located east of the Western Beltway (S.R. 429). DHI Communities also bought and developed 118 townhomes in Avian Pointe, which are also a part of the rental program where rents start at $2,550 per month for a three-bedroom townhouse.

Earlier this year, GrowthSpotter reported a D.R. Horton representative met with Osceola County’s Development Review Committee to discuss plans for a build-to-rent subdivision southwest of the intersection of Orange Blossom Trail and Pleasant Hill Road.

By the end of December, the company’s multifamily rental operations had 16 projects under construction and one project in the lease-up phase. The 17 projects represent 5,000 multifamily units, including 4,870 units under active construction and 130 completed units.

According to a first-quarter report released by the company, D.R. Horton oversees $519.2 million of inventory related to multifamily rental properties; and $641.9 million of inventory related to 74 single-family rental communities. The build-to-rent communities include 4,800 homes and finished lots, of which 1,100 homes were completed, and 3,400 lots that were unimproved or under development.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 491-3357, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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