A site designated and approved for short-term rental use in southwest Orange County is being looked over for multifamily use to capture what experts believe to be a strong demand for apartments in the growth corridor for years to come.
Fort Lauderdale-based developer BTI Partners is beginning discussions with Orange County planners to convert entitlements for up to 300 short-term rental units and 300 multifamily units to 600 multifamily units on about 38 acres of land on the southeast corner of Avalon Road and Hartzog Road.
The sought-for allowances will allow the developer to sell the southern half to an interested multifamily developer while keeping its development commitments with Alliance Residential Company, which plans to build its Avalon Pointe apartment community on the northern end at 14405 Hartzog Road.
Construction for Avalon Pointe is expected to begin this summer. Plans call for a 300-unit garden-style apartment community equipped with a one-story, roughly 4,000-square-foot clubhouse and amenity pool area.
In an email to GrowthSpoter, BTI Chief Operating Officer Kevin Mays said the company is working through its options to find the best use for the development site. Mays also confirmed the southern half is not under contract.
Opting for multifamily use goes in contrast to the company’s longtime pursuit to bring more condo-hotel units to the east side of Avalon Road, near where its Grove Resort & Water Park has seen steady sales.
The resort community, which features multi-bedroom, kitchen-equipped condo-hotel suites, is currently being expanded to feature an additional 160 units. The addition pushes the total room count to over 1,000.
Mays said about 170 units are left to sell at the main campus out of 878, and presales of the expansion are approaching 50%.
The area has seen large amounts of development ever since the creation of the master-planned Horizon West community, and the soon-to-be-completed Western Beltway (S.R. 429), which stretches all along Metro Orlando’s western edge all the way to Osceola County in the south and Mount Dora’s planned Wolf Branch Innovation District to the north.
Mays said he believes multifamily use is in high demand in that corridor of Orange County.
Scott Ramey, Newmark’s senior managing director of investment sales and multifamily capital markets in their Orlando office, agrees.
Ramey, who isn’t involved in the deal, said “the western corridor up and down S.R. 429, moving all the way south to Davenport, is one of the fastest-growing areas in all of Central Florida.”
He expects strong population growth and short commute times to large employers in the area to keep demand strong. Meanwhile, impediments to growth like the increase of construction costs developers are seeing with a national shortage of lumber and an increase in impact fees can hinder new development.
Apartment developers and owners who are underwriting deals and getting projects through can expect to lease up their projects rapidly while keeping rents favorable, he said.
BTI has been tossing around ideas on what to build on the property for years. In 2018, GrowthSpotter reported on plans to potentially build more than 200 vacation rental townhomes and supporting retail on the site.
At the time, Mays said possible synergies available for housekeeping and management from The Grove resort across the street were favorable, but plans fell through.
The company specializes in developing large, master-planned communities.
In Osceola County, it’s the master developer behind the massive Edgewater mixed-use district where plans call for 6,148 new residential units spread among seven neighborhoods and an urban center with nearly three million square feet of office and commercial uses.
Meanwhile, Alliance Residential is behind several projects throughout Central Florida. In Orlando’s Ivanhoe community the developer is near completing its Lake House Orlando Apartments, a 10-story complex on the shores of Lake Ivanhoe with 276 luxury units.
In 2019, Alliance and co-developer the Carlyle Group sold their 268-unit multifamily property in Winter Park’s Ravaudage community for about $84.45 million. The JV paid $6.7 million for the 2.3-acre site in 2016.