Altamonte Springs-based LeCesse Development Corporation is preparing to place apartments within walking distance of the Meadow Woods SunRail station.
The developer and its partner, apartment management company Cambridge Management Services, are seeking a land-use change for 10 acres in the middle of an unfinished commercial center within the Southchase community that would allow for the development of 280 units of multifamily housing.
The project, located near the intersection of S. Orange Avenue and W. Wetherbee Road, is home to a 7-Eleven, a cash wash and a dollar store. It still has 108,277 square foot of commercial and retail use entitlements. An application submitted to Orange County on behalf of developers by Sam Sebaali with Florida Engineering Group requests converting 32,340 square feet of those entitlements to midrise residential dwelling units.
That would leave developers with 75,937 square feet of commercial entitlements to build out in the future on the three remaining outparcels fronting on S. Orange Avenue.
The change determination review slated to go before the county’s development review committee on May 25 also asks for three waivers from Orange County code to allow apartment buildings as high as four stories. Currently, housing units are restricted to three stories on the property, but commercial uses were permitted up to 50 feet in height. The developer justified the request by noting that the building placement would be 150 feet from the closest single family home.
The land was purchased for $594,000 in 2013 by Orlando-based real estate investor Sean McElvaney. An entity under his name, West Pine LLC, also owns six adjacent parcels totaling more than 30 acres.
The land is surrounded on three sides by subdivisions. It’s located less than a mile north of Southland Elementary School and less than three miles west of Wetherbee Elementary School.
It’s roughly 10 miles southwest of the Orlando International Airport where a host of development activity is underway, particularly along nearby Boggy Creek Road — a north-south corridor that runs between State Roads 417 and 528 — and the Lake Nona community, a red-hot real estate market southeast of the airport.
It’s less than a quarter-mile from the Meadow Woods SunRail station.
The 16 SunRail stops from Volusia to Osceola Counties have become attractive spots for transit-oriented residential development.
In 2020, when Pulte Homes paid $9.5 million for 150 acres a mile from the Ponciana station for what would become the 500-plus lot Cypress Hammock subdivision, a leader with the company predicted even more growth along the commuter rail route would follow suit.
“The SunRail is sure to be appealing to buyers who work downtown and wish to have a stress-free commute to work,” Max Perlman, VP of land acquisition for Pulte, told GrowthSpotter at the time. “As the system continues to build out, we believe the SunRail will only grow in popularity and usefulness throughout Central Florida.”
In Feb. 2022, real estate firm Davis Development and Pulte signed on to a plan to bring a community next to Sanford’s Sunrail station consisting of 529 market-rate rental units and 120 fee-simple townhomes.
Also in February, Orlando-based real estate company AG Properties LLC filed plans to transform the site of the shuttered Summit Charter School by the Maitland SunRail station into a new residential community with 35 homes.
And in Debary, city leaders are looking to create a “Main Street style” downtown near its SunRail stop, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported recently.
Matthew Gourlay, the development manager with LeCesse Development, did return phone calls or emails seeking comment about the latest apartment project near SunRail.
Established in 1952, the LeCesse organization has grown from a regional building contractor in Rochester, NY to a multi-state developer and owner of multifamily properties, with headquarters located in Altamonte Springs, FL, according to its website.
The company focuses on the development, construction and financing of multifamily properties. The annual volume of construction completed exceeds $100 million per year, its website says.
LeCesse has developed more than 20,000 residential units nationwide, including several in the Orlando area.
Past LeCesse projects here include the 300-unit Ecco on Orange (now known as Cortland on Orange), the 289-unit Ancora Orlando and the 244-unit Rize at Winter Springs.
It currently still owns and manages the Villa Grande on Saxon, a senior living community in Orange City; the Grand Reserve at Maitland Park in Maitland; the Grand Reserve at Lee Vista in Orlando, just three miles from the Orlando International Airport; and Bella Nova at JubiLee Park in Orlando
In early 2021, the company broke ground on a 269-unit luxury apartment community in Oviedo called Avila that’s expected to open this summer.
Located at on W. State Road 426 — 10 minutes from the University of Central Florida — Avila will consist of three three-story, buildings with a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units, according to the company’s website.
Lecesse Development is also looking to add another apartment community north of the airport that will be called The Village at Crescent Park. Plans submitted to the city of Orlando call for five four-story buildings totaling 292 garden apartments.
This property is located along the west side of Conway Road, east of Orange Avenue, north of State Road 528.