Outlined in red is the 19.6-acre site in MetroWest at the corner of Raleigh Street and S. Kirkman Road that is under contract for multifamily development.
Outlined in red is the 19.6-acre site in MetroWest at the corner of Raleigh Street and S. Kirkman Road that is under contract for multifamily development. (Bio-Tech Consulting / staff edit)

Georgia-based multifamily developer RISE: A Real Estate Company has nearly 20 acres under contract in MetroWest with plans to make its Orlando market entry, and would partner with a Tampa-based developer to deliver supporting retail.

Located on the northwest corner of Raleigh Street and S. Kirkman Road, the 19.6 acres across three parcels were at one time citrus farm land and remain undeveloped. Based near the Valencia College west campus, the entire MetroWest submarket has not received much new apartment inventory in the past decade.

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RISE filed a Master Plan last week with the City of Orlando for 442 market-rate apartments across five four-story buildings over 17.13 acres, and 10,000 square feet of retail on 2.47 acres frontingKirkman Road.

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"This site affords us the opportunity to do two things: It allows us to offer product in a submarket that hasn't received new options lately, and allows us to get into mixed-use with separate developer Ocean Bleu Group, which will likely do two restaurants on the outparcels," Vice President of Development Matt Marshall told GrowthSpotter.

"We've made Central Florida a focus of ours now, and this is one of a number of submarkets we're interested in."

Site-specific plans for the two retail outparcels would be submitted in the future, after RISE builds its apartment complex in the first phase.

The unit count of 442 was broken down by RISE in its proposal as 51 percent one-bedroom/one bath, 40 percent as two-bed/two bath, and 9 percent as three-bed/two bath.

Amenities in the project design include two swimming pools, and a community clubhouse with more than 10,000 square feet that is anticipated to include a large fitness center, common lounge and gaming areas, veranda decks overlooking both pools, and walking trails that surround multiple ponds on the property.

Retail site under contract at mixed-use Veranda Park in MetroWest

Details on the prospective buyer's plans, and progress with leasing and Phase 2 development of this expansive property fronting Hiawassee Road.

Along Raleigh Street, the apartment buildings would be placed close to the road right-of-way and a pedestrian gate to give residents walkway access to the Valencia College campus, and new retail development. The buildings have also been grouped with either private courtyards or green space that faces the parking areas.

This would be RISE's third multifamily project in Florida, with the other two being a market rate property in Daytona Beach and student housing at Lakeland's Florida Polytechnic University.

Total project cost is currently forecast north of $70 million, said Marshall, with RISE likely to source financing through regional banks for a construction loan, and equity through nationally recognized investors for multifamily housing.

The developer has a general contractor in mind for the project, he added, but declined to share the name. RISE has its own property management division that would manage the asset.

RISE is actively pursuing more land in Greater Orlando, said Marshall, who noted the potential for bringing another local site under contract as soon as this week.

The developer is currently favoring sites of 15 acres or more, generally for four-story wood frame construction design and 400 apartments or more.

"Due to the robust economy, construction costs continue to increase, putting pressure on developers to add more apartments to make their financials work," he said.

Connelly & Wicker is civil engineer on the project, Humphreys & Partners is the architect, and Bio-Tech Consulting assessed the environmental.

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Vicki L. Berman of Dean Mead is serving as legal counsel for the prospective sellers behind Valencia Properties, Inc., a group of private individuals that inherited the land. Margery Johnson and Andrew Slowik of Cushman & Wakefield have been marketing the land for sale.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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