Tavistock Development Company is requesting a waiver from Orange County to build its next apartment community in Lake Nona higher than the three-story maximum currently allowed under the land-use code.
But this height increase isn’t to make room for more apartment units at the southeast corner of Wyndham Lakes and J Lawson Boulevards within one of the fastest growing submarkets in Orlando. The request is so the developer can add a unique element to the upper levels of this proposed 342-unit project — one that can’t be found in any of its other assets across its 11,000-acre Lake Nona footprint.
For its Ginn Property project, some of the units spanning the 17 acres will be designed as two-story lofts, covering the third and fourth floors, according to early conceptual plans introduced by Tavistock.
“The height increase isn’t to add more units,” Karlee Dutton, Tavistock’s senior communications manager told GrowthSpotter. “This was an opportunity to make it more architecturally interesting and have that two-floor loft option.”
It would also provide more space and flexibility for residents, she added.
“With so many more people working from home, this could be a great option for an office. It could also be used for a play area or entertainment space,” she said. “The loft apartments are not available at any of our other Lake Nona apartment communities.
She added that not all of the buildings on the property would have these loft units. “We want to have variations in the roofline with shape and form.”
Orange County planners didn’t raise objections to the waiver request at a recent development review meeting. They did, however, request changes to the conceptual plan regarding the placement of residential buildings on the site.
Bordered to the west by a large subdivision, the property sits across the street from where the Orange County School District will build a future high school on J. Lawson Boulevard. It’s also near the future home of the Orlando campus for Inter American University of Puerto Rico, which will also include student housing.
A conceptual plan submitted by Tavistock shows six apartment buildings in the center of the property, surrounding a clubhouse and pool. A parking lot circles these six buildings, with a number of individual garages scattered throughout along with a dog park and playground to the south. On the easternmost edge of the property line, on the other side of the parking lot, another four apartment buildings form a row along a large pond.
County planners though note that homes from the neighboring subdivision already line both sides of J. Lawson Boulevard, and they want Tavistock to move some of its apartment buildings closer to that east-to-west corridor, with 25-foot setbacks from the road.
County planners stressed they didn’t want a parking lot running adjacent to J. Lawson Boulevard, as shown in conceptual plans. They asked that the parking lot go more in the center of the property.
“This is about how multifamily development nestles into an established neighborhood,” county planning manager Alberto Vargas told the applicant. “It’s about becoming a part of the neighborhood,”
The feedback from the county prompts Tavistock to go back to the drawing board with engineering firm Donald W. McIntosh & Associates.
“We are working with the County staff to come up with a mutually acceptable compromise,” Dutton said.
She noted that the two-story loft concept would likely still be worked into the revised product.
“Based on staff feedback, the concerns with the current conceptual plan are not related to the increased height we’re asking for,” Dutton said. “So, we don’t anticipate having to change the plan for the loft apartments.”
The parcel sits within the Greeneway Park PD, a mass that stretches more than 120 acres on the southwest corner of Lake Nona Boulevard and Boggy Creek Road, less than 10 miles south of the Orlando International Airport.
It’s a piece of the more than 11,000 acres Tavistock owns in Lake Nona.
Not only is Lake Nona one of the top-selling residential communities in Orange County, adding 685 rooftops in 2021, but it’s also among the fastest-growing master-planned communities in the nation.
Through July 16 of this year, Lake Nona saw the closure of 230 home sales, ranking in at number 40 among master-planned communities nationwide during the first part of the year, according to a recent report by RCLCO.
Tavistock’s 348-unit Ariel Apartments opened in Lake Nona in 2017, joining the 278-unit WaterMark Apartments, the 279-unit Landon House, and the 200-unit Lake Nona Pixon.
In June, Tavistock got approval from Orlando’s Southeast Town Design Review Committee for a trio of apartment towers on Tavistock Lakes Boulevard, next door to the Landon House apartment in an area the developer has dubbed as “midtown.”
This project, Skylar Towers, consists of 627 residential units spread across three mixed-use residential towers and eight 2-story townhouses.
It will be Tavistock’s largest apartment community to date, and it’s proposed while the developer is waiting for final approval from City Council for a major revision to the Lake Nona Planned Development plan that will dramatically increase the number of residential units that can be built in the community. In its proposal, Tavistock is seeking entitlements for an additional 7,225 housing units, in addition to the 13,592 currently approved for the area.