On former farmland nestled between a 130-acre nature preserve and Lake Apopka, a local developer is gearing up to build a 150-lot subdivision with space set aside for custom-built estate homes, public parks and scenic trails in the small town of Oakland.
Andre Vidrine is leading the development of a single-family residential community on 110 acres north of West Orange Trail. The property was formerly owned by the Briley family, who were among the earliest settlers of Oakland, a town established in 1887 with a population of roughly 3,000 people on the northwest corner of Orange County.
Honoring the land’s history and its former namesake, the subdivision featuring varying lot sizes as large as half an acre will be called Briley Farm.
“This land has been in that family’s name for more than 100 years,” Vidrine, the owner of Integrative Development Group, told GrowthSpotter. “It’s very important to me and my team that that legacy and everything that family has done for the town is immortalized.”
It was also important to Vidrine and his team to preserve some of the site’s natural environment. No homes will be built along the shores of Florida’s fourth-largest lake, which borders the property to the north. Instead, plans call for the construction of a public park and a network of trails around a cluster of ponds near the shore of Lake Apopka.
Another small park will go on the southern edge of the property, near West Orange Trail. There’s also a plan to connect a trail from the subdivision to the adjacent Oakland Nature Preserve. The developer donated 10 acres to expand the footprint of the preserve.
“This could have been a lot larger development,” Vidrine said. “We probably could have built about 300 lots, but this is 150 units. We did that because we wanted this product to preserve the natural environment of the land. This layout is designed to preserve as many of the large Oaks on the property as possible.”
As for the plan to build new public parks and trails, “We want to open the land to the public,” he added.
Site plans drafted by design firm Dix. Hite + Partners show a total of 92 cottage lots, which include alley-loaded 45-foot lots and front-loaded 60-foot lots, as well as 56 half-acre estate lots. The myriad lot sizes allow for a lot of flexibility in terms of house size and architecture, Vidrine said.
“Because the lot sizes vary, it’s going to cover a lot of different product types and provide opportunities for a lot of different lifestyles,” he said. “You may have a home that’s 1,600 square feet or you may have a home that’s 3,000 to 4,000 square feet, or you can have custom homes as large as the buyer wants.”
The project team also includes civil engineering firm Madden Moorhead & Stokes.
The property has been owned by the Briley family for generations, originating with Samuel J. Briley and Fannie Edna Rich who settled on the property and grew produce in the 1990s.
More recently the property was being used as an exotic animal ranch where zebras, miniature donkeys, and an ancient breed of African Watusi cattle could be found lurking on its grounds.
Vidrine, who formerly led the Central Florida operations for national homebuilder Toll Brothers, said the owners of the Briley Farm property contacted him in 2018 about the subdivision concept.
“I told them, ‘Absolutely,’” he said. “It’s a marquee piece of property. It’s one of the best-positioned projects in Central Florida so I’m very excited to be a part of this team.”
He added, “I cannot think of anywhere else Orange County of this caliber. With large custom homes and jewel box cottage lots, the new Briley Farm masterplan creates opportunities that allow residents to explore and connect to the natural world around like none other.”
Vidrine expects to break ground on the project by early 2023.