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Elevations for the multifamily portion of Wetherbee Acres project near Lake Nona
Elevations for the multifamily portion of Wetherbee Acres project near Lake Nona (Orange County)

Recently filed plans for nearly 100 acres of vacant land near Lake Nona sheds more light onto what eventually will become of the Wetherbee Acres project now under contract with homebuilder D.R. Horton.

The landowner, Wetherbee Acres LLLP, led by J. Thomas Cardwell, entered a Memorandum of Agreement with the homebuilder to sell the property in March 2018. The parties have since been working together to approve a master plan for Wetherbee Acres, in which the land may accommodate an 18-acre townhouse tract and a 25-acre apartment tract.

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The remaining land is wetlands.

In December, GrowthSpotter reported that Wetherbee Acres LLLP was prepping a 70-unit townhome development as part of its first phase. Last month, Orange County’s Board of City Commissioners approved those plans.

A site plan for Wetherbee Acres project under contract with homebuilder D.R Horton, shows the project is split into an 18-acre townhouse tract to the left and a 25-acre apartment tract to the right.
A site plan for Wetherbee Acres project under contract with homebuilder D.R Horton, shows the project is split into an 18-acre townhouse tract to the left and a 25-acre apartment tract to the right. (Orange County/GrowthSpotter)

Though the project at 4402 E. Wetherbee Rd. has entitlements for up to 950 multifamily units, recently submitted construction plans filed in the South Florida Water Management District shows the applicant is seeking to build 300 apartments as part of its second phase.

A conceptual site plan shows the apartment community can feature up to three-bedroom units. The site plan also depicts a clubhouse and pool area, as well as two recreational parks and wide sidewalks that feature multiple benches and bike racks.

The development team includes VHB as planner and civil engineer and Bio-Tech Consulting as environmental engineer. Forum Architecture & Interior Design, Inc. is the architect.

Representatives at D.R. Horton were not immediately available to comment. It’s unclear if the developer is seeking to sell the second phase once a contract is closed, or if it intends to develop the apartments.

Albeit an uncommon development for the homebuilder, it’s not unheard of for D.R. Horton to hold onto land with commercial development rights.

In Horizon West, the company is entitling a 38-acre parcel along Avalon Road to allow for up to 383 multifamily units and 125,000 square feet of commercial space. Nearby, it built single-family homes at Waterleigh, with plans for a total of 3,600 homes on 1,400 acres at Hickorynut Lake in Village H.

Last month, GrowthSpotter reported D.R. Horton landed a contract deal with Schmid Construction for land at 15500 W. Colonial Dr. that has allowances to build a roughly 84,400-square-foot commercial center that will consists of a mix of retail and office space within the West State Road 50 Commercial Activity Center.

Entity, Wetherbee Acres LLLP, is manged by Cardwell who is a veteran attorney in Orlando and former CEO of law firm Akerman Senterfitt, now known as Akerman LLP. The company is also tied to George T. Edison Jr., who paid a little more than $1 million for the property in 1990. He is also credited as one of the founding members of the law firm.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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