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Single-Family Residential Developments

Unicorp lands construction loan for Ritz-Carlton Residences buildout

The first homes in the community sold last year for over $2 million each.

Orlando developer Unicorp National Developments has landed a $42.2 million construction loan to complete the buildout of the Ritz-Carlton Residences Orlando.

The luxury branded residences are located in a gated community within the Orlando Grande Lakes Resort, which is home to the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carton hotels.

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Unicorp President Chuck Whittall acquired the property in 2017 and received an $8 million loan from Goldman Sachs for the first phase, which included the horizontal construction of the 37-lot community, an owners’ clubhouse and nine homes, all of which sold in 2021 for an average of $2.3 million.

Now Trez Capital is stepping in to finance the construction of the final 28 homes. Trez Capital Managing Director Ben Jacobson originated the loan on behalf of Unicorp. The transaction closed on March 18.

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Whittall said they’ve already pre-sold 13 of the remaining 28 units, and now prices are averaging closer to $2.8 million. “So we’re going to go ahead and build out the rest of the community because sales have been so good,” he said. “We’re going to get started on construction this week, and we hope to have the community built and finished in 18 months. We’ll deliver the first group of homes in 12 months.”

The Ritz-Carlton Residences offers three and four-bedroom residences built by Jones Clayton Construction, each with a private pool and interior selections by local interior design firms, Peter Ferwerda and Marc Michaels, with complete furnishing packages available. Whittall said almost all of the buyers have opted to include the furniture package, which costs about $250,000.

Residents also have access to a private clubhouse for the community with a full-time concierge that offers housekeeping services. As part of the Grande Lakes Resort master-planned community, they also have access to resort amenities, including a clubhouse, a full-service spa, 18-hole Greg Norman signature golf course, 11 restaurants and bars, children’s activities, water sports, hiking, nature trails and more.

The community is located just north of the hotel duo, at 4012 Central Florida Parkway. The community is being developed as a condominium community with mostly attached units and some detached units. Julie Bettosini of Stockworth Realty Group is the exclusive broker to market the homes.

This is the second significant transaction between Trez Capital and Unicorp since last summer. Jacobson originated a $75.2 million loan for the developer’s 354-unit SOTA 75 rental project in Sarasota in June 2021.

“It is exciting to work with a repeat borrower that has an unparalleled track record for delivering luxury housing in Central Florida and beyond,” Jacobson said. “Orlando’s high-end residential market is underserved. With a world-class brand like The Ritz-Carlton, premier developer and general contractor in Unicorp and Jones Clayton Construction, respectively, and an array of amenities, this project should experience brisk sales activity.”

The Ritz-Carlton Residences Orlando isn’t Unicorp’s first luxury single-family home development. The company, which is behind large mixed-use projects like O-Town West, is also developing the St. Regis Resort and Residences on Sarasota’s Longboat Key, where he has just a handful of units available, and the Carmel community by Orlando’s Dr. Phillips neighborhood. Carmel, an 11-lot residential subdivision, sold out earlier this year with Whittall acquiring the largest residential lot for his own 20,000-square-foot mansion.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


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