Since forming in January, Orlando-based Luxer Development is ready to move forward on one of its first projects.
The company, started by two industry veterans, is planning to build a 72-unit townhome community on roughly nine acres along the east side of S. Goldenrod Road, just south of S.R. 408 and AdventHealth East Orlando.
The land, at 7522 Snyder Drive, is tucked amid a heavily commercialized area, surrounded by retailers and restaurants. Single-family homes within the Pinar Heights subdivision extend on adjacent land to the south.
Shaman Foradi, who previously co-founded Elevation Development and is still involved with several of its projects, and Leroy Sanchez, a former land acquisition director with America’s largest homebuilder D.R. Horton, joined forces to start Luxer Development.
Each has more than 40 years of experience, during which they’ve developed over 1,500 residential lots as well as numerous retail and commercial projects, according to the company’s website.
“We are basically looking for properties that we can develop and entitle,” Foradi told GrowthSpotter, adding that there are a few projects in the pipeline for Osceola County that are too early in the process to discuss.
One of their first projects requires some land-use revisions. In 2010, Wendover Housing Partners submitted plans to Orange County for a 124-unit affordable senior housing multifamily project on this Goldenrod property called “Southwick Commons.” The county approved the land-use plan in late 2013.
Wendover pulled out of the project, and ultimately wound up pursuing a different iteration of its Southwick Commons concept, with 195 units, in Apopka within its city center along 7th Street. The developer has since sued the city because it denied the affordable housing project.
In 2018, after Wendover abandoned its project on Goldenrod Road, American Civil Engineering Company submitted a pre-application request to the county on behalf of the owner, Snyder Street Properties LLC, with plans for a storage facility. That also didn’t happen.
The land still holds entitlements for the multifamily project, so when Luxer Development filed its application for the 72 townhomes in February, they requested an amendment to the land-use plan to allow for the new use.
The county’s Development Review Committee approved that request on Sept. 21.
Foradi told GrowthSpotter that the presence of wetlands on the property made vertical multifamily construction a challenge.
He said he likes this location for townhomes because of its proximity to State Road 408.
“It’s a good location and we figured townhomes would be more appropriate,” Foradi said. “This is something we felt is more of an appropriate use for that location because it’s less density than having 124 units. With less density, you get less traffic.”
He said he expects the land-use request to go before the county’s planning and zoning commission in October.
According to a land-use plan submitted by American Civil Engineering Company, townhomes would rise as tall as three stories with 25-foot setbacks from the front and rear and 20-foot setbacks from the sides. The buildings would be spaced 20 feet apart.
Seminole County is currently seeking revisions to its land use code to incentivize townhome projects and make it easier for them to get through the review process.
Orange County leaders have also stated a desire to see more townhome options as the majority of housing projects that come through for approval are for standard subdivisions and multifamily.
Townhome projects present a cheaper, more attainable option to people looking to buy a home.
According to data from the Orange County Property Appraiser’s office presented to the county commission during its Aug. 30 meeting, homes across the county sold at an average price of $544,510 in 2021. Sixty-five percent of the transactions that year involved market-rate commodities. Just 4% of the home sales were for less than $300,000, according to the data.
The average sale price for townhomes across the county in 2021 was $331,873, according to the property appraiser’s office. Yet the county, on average, processes permits for roughly 400 townhomes per year for the unincorporated areas of the county.
By comparison, the county has awarded permits for 3,176 multifamily units this year, as of late August.
The townhome product “has never been a huge part of our market, but they are an important piece,”Scott Skraban, the county’s manager of fiscal and operational support said during the Aug. 30 commission meeting. “With this affordability option we are looking for, townhomes are a good option. ...We want to take a proactive approach to affordable and attainable housing to try and bring more products to market to help with supply and demand.”