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Unicorp scores $49M construction loan for luxury Avenue at Oakland apartment project

A rendering for the proposed $90 million Avenue at Oakland project.
A rendering for the proposed $90 million Avenue at Oakland project. (Slocum Platts Architects)

The small town of Oakland will soon have a new $90 million apartment complex, as part of developer Dwight Saathoff’s master-planned Longleaf at Oakland community.

The complex, called Avenue at Oakland, sits on about 16 acres of the total 58-acre community, located northeast of Florida’s Turnpike and State Road 438.

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Saathoff partnered with developer Chuck Whittall, president of Orlando-based Unicorp National Developments Inc., to help bring the luxury apartment complex across the finish line.

As part of that effort, Unicorp managed to close on a $49 million loan to help fund the construction of its planned 342-unit multifamily project.

Valley National Bank in conjunction with Iberia Bank provided the financing. The developer broke ground on the project Thursday. Completion is scheduled for September 2021.

An aerial and site plan for the proposed 342-unit multifamily community located northeast of the intersection between Florida’s Turnpike and State Road 438.
An aerial and site plan for the proposed 342-unit multifamily community located northeast of the intersection between Florida’s Turnpike and State Road 438. (Unicorp/Orange County Property Appraiser)

Roger B. Kennedy Construction is the selected contractor and Slocum Platts Architects is the architect. Kimley-Horn Engineers is the civil engineer.

Avenue at Oakland will be a gated apartment complex with four, four-story multifamily buildings, a clubhouse, dog park and resort-style pool area.

Residents will have access trails that connect to the adjacent West Orange Trail, as well as 24-hour fitness studio, business center, conference room, library lounge, private theater room, indoor and outdoor games and a bike storage and repair shop within the community.

Avenue at Oakland was originally proposed as an age-restricted development for seniors, but developers opted to scrap the age restriction to broaden its appeal after a market study showed a surplus of senior housing in the area.

The town of Oakland is a small jurisdiction that lies near the Lake/Orange County line. Saathoff’s Longleaf at Oakland sits adjacent to the Oakland Nature Preserve, about three miles away from downtown Winter Garden.

His company, Project Finance & Development, introduced a number of new rooftops to the town when it tapped homebuilder Pulte Homes for the first phase of the project — 84 single-family homes and 100 townhomes. Construction of the residences began in 2018.

The land was previously owned by the Florida Department of Transportation. Records show PF&D paid $5 million for the 58 acres in 2017.

Oakland sits nearby fast-growing neighborhoods in Orlando, Horizon West and Winter Garden, but the town itself only has about 3,000 residents.

The jurisdiction just recently begun to install sewers, and its residents have often attended council meetings with concerns over the future density of new projects and the associated traffic impacts.

On the opposite side of S.R. 50, for instance, LIV Development Inc. failed to score the necessary rezoning approval for its contested Johns Lake Residences project last year.

The company was planning to develop up to 242 apartments and carriage houses on about 16 acres at 17812 W. Colonial Drive, but zoning change was rejected.

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The multi-parcel site was annexed into the town in 2018 and is currently owned by Oakland Capital Group LLC. The company took possession of the properties last year, after its previous owners filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

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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