Lennar Homes is looking to replicate its lucrative vacation home business in the City of Orlando on one of the larger undeveloped parcels in the city’s I-Drive tourism corridor.
The nation’s largest homebuilder has a purchase contract on 77 acres on International Drive, immediately south of the former Artegon Marketplace (now Dezerland). The site, which has a Vanguard Street address, was previously approved for a mixed-use resort called “AcquaSol" that would have called for hotels, retail, timeshares and over 900 apartments.
Lennar’s development plan more closely mimics its Storey Lake community, with a mix of short-term rental condominiums, vacation homes and townhomes surrounding a massive amenity center with its own restaurant and water park. The plan calls for 62 detached homes of up to 5,000 square feet on 50-foot lots, according to Planned Development Amendment. With this product, Lennar hopes to cater to groups and extended families that are now vacationing in Kissimmee and Four Corners.
The new resort would also have 200 vacation townhomes and 240 resort condos. All would be categorized as commercial dwelling units, which allow for a maximum rental period of 120 days – compared to 30 days for a short-term rental unit in Osceola County.
“As a national home builder, Lennar invests significant time, money and resources to determine the market demand for their communities in order to provide tangible benefits to its customers," the company wrote in its project narrative. "We have determined that the market for the International Drive Resort Community is a mix of various commercial dwelling units ranging in size from 1,000 to 5,000 square feet.”
Lennar also plans to maintain an 8-acre outparcel and is seeking to entitle it for 85,000 square feet of retail. “The goal will be to provide walkable retail opportunities for families staying within the (resort), as well as other patrons visiting the International Drive area,” according to the documents. A conceptual plan shows a pedestrian bridge in the northeast corner of the parcel that would link up to the Shingle Creek Regional Trail.
With its recent expansions of its two resort communities, Lennar is one of the largest builders of vacation rental properties in the Orlando market. The homebuilder paid $16 million in 2018 to buy 323 acres of vacant land next to Storey Lake for a new sister community, Shingle Creek, with 570 homes.
Lennar has steadily expanded its ChampionsGate Country Club and resort holdings after paying $16.7 million in June for the final 156-acres that takes the community almost to the Polk County line. The homebuilder now has roughly 1,400 more homesites in the pipeline at ChampionsGate. The land west of Westside Boulevard would be a self-contained resort community dubbed “The Retreat.” It would have a total of 310 homes, townhomes and condos built in two phases, plus an amenity center and private park.