Land use attorney Joe Ort leads the investment group that bought the Blackwater site in late 2017. At the time, he told GrowthSpotter the group had no specific plans for the land, most of which is just south of the Polk-Osceola county line.
"I think Orlando Health is going to do really well there," Ort said. "There's a strong need for healthcare in that location. We actually looked at doing some kind of medical use on our site."
Watermark is planning a 326-unit complex called "Thrive by Watermark." Kimley Horn filed a site development plan for the project, while the owner's consultant, Boyd Civil Engineering, filed mass grading plans for the entire 46-acre site, which includes two commercial lots of 2.7 acres and 6.4 acres.
The Blackwater investors also filed plans with Osceola County for a driveway access to C.R. 532.
Watermark spokeswoman Sophie Ferraro said Thrive would include of mix of building styles, including 12 Big House-style buildings with private garage entrances for each unit. The complex would have two four-story, elevator-served buildings with interior corridors and an integrated clubhouse.
The interiors are planned to have elevated finishes, such as granite or quartz counters, stainless steel appliances, subway tile backsplashes and huge kitchen islands, Ferraro said.
"They're really going all out for this community," she added. "We'll offer things like framed mirrors in the bathroom and designer pendant lighting."
Humphreys & Partners is the architect.
Planned amenities include a fully equipped 24-hour fitness center, outdoor kitchen, dog park and pet salon, on-site coffee bar and swimming pool and spa with cabanas.
"We don't have misting fans in the pool cabanas, but they do have ceiling fans, so they're really nice," Ferraro said. "They can expect a really cool resort experience."
Watermark focuses on the construction and operation of Class A apartment developments in affluent suburban locations. Watermark Residential has developed, or is in the process of developing, more than 34 projects in 12 states totaling over 8,500 units.
"This is our first time in Florida, so we're really excited," Ferraro said. "We're always looking for the best new markets to grow into and check out. We look for markets where new growth will be and where we see development coming."
The Blackwater site is in the heart of one of the region's most active submarkets for new multifamily construction. It's right next to Legacy Union Park apartments and just down the street from Garrett Company's Echelon, another Big House community.