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Multi-Family Residential Developments

Unicorp plans luxury apartments with wine tasting lounge, indoor basketball court in Horizon West

With 10,000 multifamily units in the construction pipeline for Orange County, Unicorp National Developments continues to take an “innovative” approach to make sure none of its ongoing projects look the same.

Take what the company is planning in Horizon West as an example: A 212-unit luxury apartment community with a wine tasting lounge and an indoor basketball court.

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After purchasing the 16-acre property between S.R. 429 and Avalon Road roughly a year ago for $6.5 million, Unicorp is pursuing a multifamily project called Elysian that’s set to go before the county’s development review committee on Wednesday.

The project team consists of Michigan-based architectural firm Kreiger Klatt Architects and engineering firm Kimley Horn.

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In addition to four, 4-story garden apartment buildings throughout the gated property, the site will also include four smaller carriage house buildings with four units apiece.

Unicorp CEO Chuck Whittall told GrowthSpotter that these two-to-three story carriage homes would be akin to smaller houses totaling around 1,200 square feet with two bedrooms and an enclosed garage per unit.

The amenity package includes a wine lounge, the indoor basketball court, and clubhouse with pool tables, a 24-hour fitness center, a yoga studio, a theater room, a business center with private offices and printing stations, a swimming pool with a jacuzzi, a sauna, an outdoor fire pit and an outdoor gaming area.

“We are just trying to be innovative in our projects,” Whittall said. “Yes, there will be wine tastings on site and we found the carriage houses to be very interesting as if they were almost a small home.”

Across from the Lakeshore Preserve subdivision, the triangular property sits within the Hickory Nut Village of Horizon West, one of the hottest real estate submarkets in the Orlando area. Located at the northeast corner of Avalon and Seidel Roads, the land is a few miles west of Disney theme parks.

Before Unicorp snagged the property, it was owned by an entity led by real estate manager Cole Clayton. He filed an application to Orange County in May of 2021 to rezone the land from A-1 to PD in order to allow as many as 332 apartment units.

That land-use plan was approved by the county commission on April 20.

For Elysian, site plans included in agenda materials show residential buildings of various sizes. Buildings 1 and 2 on the north side of the property would hold 56 units and 44 units respectively.

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Buildings 3 and 4 — extending along the east side of the pool and clubhouse, facing a large pond — would hold 48 and 56 units respectively.

The community will include 18 studio apartments, 74 one-bedroom units, 104 two-bedroom units, and 16 three-bedroom units. Site plans drafted by engineering firm Kimley-Horn show 1.8 acres of open space for parks and recreational activities along with two out-parcels along Seidel Road for future development.

“This is an excellent area with great schools,” Whittall said. “We have a few other apartment parcels in the immediate area we are moving forward with as well. In general in Orange County. we have 10,000 multifamily units in development.”

Just south of the Horizon West boundary, Unicorp National Developments is seeking approval for a mixed-use project called Sutton Lakes on 139 acres on Avalon Road that’ll include as many as 300 apartments and as many as 250 single-family homes.

For the single-family housing piece of the concept, Unicorp will prepare the lots and then sell them off to homebuilders.

“The area is in need of more housing,” he told GrowthSpotter in an earlier interview, “and we think this a great opportunity to bring more housing to that area. That whole sector is growing.”

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Unicorp is also filling out its nearly 350-acre O-Town West project near Universal theme parks.

The massive mixed-use site is approved for more than 1,500 residential units with retail, dining and office space divided among four sub-districts: Village at O-Town West, The Crossings at O-Town West, the Town Center at O-Town West and the City Center at O-Town West.

Construction is currently underway on two luxury apartment communities here.

The Glass House will total 900 units once all phases are complete within the Village district. Unicorp received a $77 million loan in December of 2020 from Goldman Sachs to finance Phase 1 of the project. It’ll feature a lagoon amenity and a restaurant serving three meals a day. Once open, tenants can order cocktails to sip by the pool.

Work is also underway on The Bentley, a 396-unit midrise apartment community in the town center district. Unicorp received a construction loan totaling $68 million in April 2021 for this project.

The Bentley’s on-site amenity programming will include a resort-style swimming pool with jacuzzi, resident lounge with a coffee bar, a social area featuring billiards and arcade games, a theater room, entertainment lanai with HDTV, ZEN garden with hanging moon chairs and water features, outdoor walking trail, a firepit, 24-hour fitness center with TRX and yoga studio, a conference room, bike rentals, outdoor gaming areas offering cornhole, Jenga and putting green, and electric car charging stations.

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Whittall told GrowthSpotter in July that these resort-style residential assets may become a growing part of Unicorp’s portfolio.

In O-Town West, the developer has plans to build another 200-unit community called Eden where rent rates will start in the 3,000 range. Here, residents will feel like they’re living in million-plus dollar homes, Whittall said.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at (407)420-5058 or dwyatt@GrowthSpotter.com, or tweet me at @DustinWyattGS. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn


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