Crescent & Urbanscape form new JV, seek multifamily sites in Greater Orlando

Orlando-based Urbanscape Development has formed a new joint venture with Crescent Communities to co-develop multifamily and mixed-use projects across the state, with an initial focus on sites in Central Florida, the company's president told GrowthSpotter

Urbanscape's Jon Wood has 22 years of multifamily development experience, and has developed some 8,500 apartments along the mid-Atlantic coast between Florida and the northeast, including more than 2,500 units in Greater Orlando. 

Wood's role will be to bring Crescent new land opportunities the company may not find otherwise. Both firms will be owner-partners in projects they pursue together. 

"We're seeking everything for true Class A market-rate product, both suburban and urban opportunities," he said. "Crescent's NOVEL Lucerne project (in downtown Orlando's SoDo District) is under construction now and they have another underway in downtown Tampa. There's been a focus for them in recent years on urban infill, but now we can shift the focus a bit to suburban." 

Wood will pursue suburban sites of at least eight acres that can support 25 to 30 units per acre, favoring infill locations in submarkets like Windermere, Lake Mary, UCF/East Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Celebration, Millenia, Dr. Phillips and the tourism corridor, he said. 

"We'd like to find sites already zoned for multifamily, but can take on the rezoning risk as well," Wood added. "For urban our search can go as small as two acres for the right location." 

The JV partners' goal is to start two to three new projects in Greater Orlando by the end of this year, including permit approval, acquisition and groundbreaking, Wood said. 

Traditional construction financing would be sought for each project. Both developers have established lender relationships, but the JV will also source new ones, he added. 

"We're actively pursuing several sites now and are close to having those under control," said Wood, who declined to share further details. 

No civil engineering or architecture firms have been signed yet by the JV developer to manage design and permitting of prospective projects. 

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