Winter Park developer Ron Ginsburg and FK Architecture are planning a $70 million green apartment community near Davenport that will use existing natural surroundings as part of the design and the amenities.
Ginsburg, principal of The Commerce Fund of Florida LLC, paid $6.25 million cash in March for the property located on Dunson Road, east of U.S. 27 and behind Ritchie Bros auction house. The property was already permitted for the 319 apartments, but Ginsburg has added the environmentally-focused purpose, FK Companies architect Ken Linehan told GrowthSpotter.
“We want to increase the user-friendly nature from an environmental side,” Linehan said. While the exact goals are still being determined, he said, some items including electric vehicle charging stations, and solar energy for the clubhouse are planned.
Sarasota-based Two Trails is the green consultant on the community known as Dunson Park and Dunson Grove Apartments, Linehan said. Ginsburg wants to make the wetlands on the site and a tree-save area a big part of the community with running and biking trails weaving through and around them and hammocks tucked in along the way, Linehan said.
The buildings themselves will be constructed using long-lasting exterior paints, but most of the environmentally friendly materials will be internal, he said, with wood-look luxury vinyl tile, LED lights and backlit mirrors. Screen enclosures on lanais will help shade the buildings and protect against bugs. Irrigation will be limited only to areas that need to be irrigated.
FKA is designing the community with buildings of 2 stories and 3 stories with direct-entry walk-up apartments from studios of 624 square feet to 3 bedrooms of 1,231 square feet. The 3 story buildings will be around the lake, partially to keep the larger buildings from impeding the views of the single-family homes nearby, Linehan said.
With permits in place, construction should begin within 60 days, he said. The clubhouse and resort-style pool should be completed in 8-10 months and the first couple of residential buildings completed and rented in 10-12 months. Final construction should be done in about 16 months. Ginsburg’s management company will rent and manage the community.
Final plans were submitted to contractor Portrait Construction of Florida in Lakeland for review and pricing this week, Linehan said.
Maitland-based Bonnett Design Group is the landscape architect; Joseph, Lawrence and Co. in Altamonte Springs is the engineer; Gutherman Structural Inc., also from Altamonte Springs is the structural engineer; and Orlando-based DRMP is the civil engineer.
Casablanca brokered the deal for the property sale from Miami-based Spider Group Corp. The site is next door to the former Four Corner Town Center site, which was previously slated for a regional mall but is now being developed as a residential community by Pulte.
“The location was fantastic for them,” Linehan said of Ginsburg’s group. Near I-4, U.S. 27, Orlando and Tampa, the location is perfect for workforce housing as well as for professional millennials and retired couples, he said.
“I see the 55 and over crowd and millennials and I see them not wanting to own,” Linehan said. Dunson Park will include some 55 and over buildings, he said.
The increase in home prices also is making renting attractive now, he said.
“In central Florida, the land grab for single-family homes, started right before Covid kind of hit,” Linehan said. “So now we’re dealing with a shortage of everything. It may not be an influx from the north or the west. It may be people moving from one city in Florida and another.”
The median home price is $280,000, up from $225,000 before the global pandemic. Florida home prices were up 17% over the same time in 2020, according to Florida Trend.
“That’s not easy to swallow when someone might be laid off or working from home.”