Atlanta-based Catalyst Development Partners paid $5 million on March 1 for a 16.5-acre parcel in Winter Springs slated for a 279-unit apartment project.
The apartments were to be built by Pollack Shores Real Estate Group, which guided the project through the city's entitlement process last year. But the company backed out for reasons that are not clear. Anthony Everett, regional director for Pollack Shores, did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.
Meanwhile, Catalyst principal Jorge Sardinas said the company is in the final stages of hiring a general contractor, a process that should be completed in the next 10 days.
"We'll hire a general contractor who may or may not be from that (Orlando) area," Sardinas told GrowthSpotter on Monday. "They will hire subcontractors and I expect a lot of those will be from that area."
Catalyst, via affiliate Winter Springs Apartments LP, bought the property from Winter Springs Holdings Inc., according to a deed recorded Friday in Seminole County. The property is at the northeast corner of the S.R. 434 and Tuskawilla Road intersection.
Winter Springs Holdings is an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The IBEW bought the land in August 2007 for $19.34 million.
Pollack Shores had acquired all the necessary entitlements by early 2016 to build an apartment complex on the property, said Brian Fields, Winter Springs community development director.
"What has been submitted, (Catalyst) basically moved forward with the same plans, architecture, engineering," Fields said. "They intend to build what was previously approved."
Catalyst has submitted applications for building permits and should break ground within the next 30 days, Sardinas said.
"We'll probably have units to deliver, as well as a clubhouse and amenities in 12-13 months," he said. "We're probably looking at May of 2018 for completion."
The apartments are expected to cover 12 acres. Sardinas said the remaining 4.5 acres will be developed for commercial use, though no decision has been made on what that will include. The commercial development will be contiguous to the apartments, but will be a stand-alone project, he said.
The Winter Springs complex will reflect Catalyst's efforts to appeal to the millennial demographic. The three-story, walk-up units will have an "urban feel," Sardinas said.
The building's front wall will border the street to create walkability and connectivity with surrounding retail and entertainment. The complex will be within walking distance of the Winter Springs Town Center mixed-use development.
All the apartment units will feature granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and wood floors. Though Catalyst is marketing hard to millennials, Sardinas said the complex will also feature three-bedroom units that appeal to young families.
When Catalyst developed the EOS Apartments near the University of Central Florida in 2014/15, the developer partnered with Bluerock Residential Growth REIT Inc. Sardinas said another company will help finance the Winter Springs project, but declined to name the partner. The lender will be First Third Bank, he said.
Catalyst concentrates on multifamily real estate development and acquisition. This will be the company's second new development in Orlando this investment cycle, with 11.46 acres under contract near UCF for a $42 million apartment project, a lead executive told GrowthSpotter in early January.