Park Square CRE, the commercial development arm of Orlando-based Park Square Homes, has begun clearing a 17-acre site on U.S. 192 in Kissimmee this week to start construction on a 287-unit apartment complex across from NeoCity.
Park Square spent much of the last five years working through the environmental issues, securing permits, and then redesigning the project to reach this point, Sid Gautum, director of development, told GrowthSpotter. The company bought the land, which is next door to Valencia College’s Osceola campus, in 2018 for $1.17 million.
Last week, the developer secured a $51.6 million construction loan from Ameris Bank, allowing the project to get off the ground. Gautam said the total project budget for the renamed Aston Square will be $79 million.
Gautum said the project went through several iterations and redesigns to get to this point. Initially, Park Square had sought a PD amendment to allow construction of up to 384 units over two phases. The developer ultimately decided to go with less density and larger units.
“We had to go back to the drawing board because of COVID, and we changed the unit layout,” Gautam said. “Tenants want larger floorplans, so we just gave them more wiggle room in the unit itself. We have a two-bedroom unit with a den that has almost 1,400 square feet.”
Studio and one-bedroom units also have a flex space that can serve as a home office, and all bedrooms have walk-in closets. The developer also asked the architects to make sure each unit has a balcony.
“It makes more sense post-COVID to have balconies to provide outdoor space,” Gautam said.
The apartment buildings are four stories with elevator service, open breezeways and surface parking. The developer eliminated one of the multifamily apartment buildings and replaced it with a row of 15 two-story townhomes. Gautam said each townhouse is designed with a bedroom on the first floor that could double as a home office and two additional bedrooms on the second floor.
ACi Architects also changed out the exterior finishes and swapped the flat roofline for a pitched roof. Some of the original concepts remained, such as building a leasing office at the front of the community and a separate clubhouse toward the back. Gautam said the leasing office will function as a business center for residents, while the two-story clubhouse will have a fitness center, yoga room, lounge and cyber cafe. The second floor will be a flexible indoor-outdoor transitional space with an activity lawn overlooking the pool deck. There’s also an outdoor kitchen on the pool deck and multiple grilling stations throughout the community.
The mail center and package lockers will also be in a stand-alone building, Gautam said. The project lies in a federal opportunity zone and has two commercial lots fronting on U.S. 192 flanking the main entrance to the community.
“We have two small retail outparcels where we could put a restaurant or a two or three-tenant building, but we want the apartments to come up first,” Gautam said.
The developer is projecting a 22-month construction period. The site development alone will take up to five months. Winter Park Construction is the general contractor.
Aston Square is the first of two multifamily projects in the city of Kissimmee that Park Square has in the pipeline. The builder recently received approval from the City Commission to amend its Sonoma Resort entitlements in the Tapestry Planned Unit Development in order to build up to 322 multifamily units.
The 50-acre site was previously under consideration for an assisted living facility with an attached children’s daycare center.
“The assisted living would have been successful, but eventually we decided the highest and best use of the property was for multifamily,” Gautam said. The company has engaged Poulos & Bennett as the civil engineer to take the project through entitlements.
Park Square Commercial has also completed hotel projects in Davenport and Sanford, and it will be building a dual-branded hotel adjacent to the Tupperware SunRail Station. The company is also branching into the single-family Build-to-Rent space with its first project in Ocoee.
“We are long-term holders of our commercial assets,” Gautam said. “The whole idea is to diversify, and all of the income-producing properties provide us with a diverse revenue stream.”