Developer prepares 75 acres near Lake Apopka for single-family, seeks buyers

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

Boca Raton-based Equity Investments LLC is considering whether to develop the infrastructure on 75-plus acres near Lake Apopka itself this year and manage individual lot sales, or find a homebuilder to buy the entire project, a managing member of the company told GrowthSpotter

The developer filed permit applications earlier this month with the St. Johns River Water Management District for a new surface water management system to serve a single-family residential development on the site's 75.24 acres. 

The property lies at 2210 and 1950 S. Binion Road at the intersection with Harmon Road, just west of where Adventist Health System is building Apopka's new Florida Hospital, and east of Lake Apopka. 

Equity Investments paid $2.6 million for the land back in March 2016, buying on spec without a site plan or ensuring that the desired entitlements were available. 

The company spent the months that followed hiring civil engineer Madden, Moorhead & Stokes, Inc. on the project, and St. Cloud-based Gentry Land Company to assist in developing a site plan that could be marketed to homebuilders. 

Named for now as Vistas at Waters Edge, the company has received preliminary site plan approval from the City of Apopka, and is preparing final engineering plans to be submitted for permits so it can start horizontal site work, said manager David Shapiro. 

Equity has yet to decide if it will develop the property itself beyond the infrastructure work, or sell it to a homebuilder with approvals in place.

"It really depends on the level of interest from homebuilders. Sometimes they like to control the situation at this juncture," Shapiro said. "Once we have the ability to pull permits to develop, usually that will create some interest (from the market) that we have a property that's ready to go." 

The developer has yet to hire a general contractor to lead horizontal site work on the property. 

Equity Investments is led by former owners of Engle Homes, which was one of the largest single-family and townhome builder brands in Orlando before the 2008 economic recession, said Shapiro, himself a former vice president of finance with the homebuilder. Engle went under after parent company TOUSA Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2008

Other recent developments by Equity Investments in the area have been focused in St. Cloud, where the company acquired 170 lots in the Oak Ridge Place townhome development that were sold to and are being built by A&M Homes. The group is also developing single-family projects Terra Vista (72 lots) and the Preserve at Turtle Creek in St. Cloud, also with A&M Homes.

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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