Pulte Homes is looking to carve out its own space within a roughly 300-acre commercial district created by the City of Winter Springs to lure economic development and not necessarily more single-family homes.
Rebecca Wilson, an attorney and shareholder with Lowndes, represented the homebuilder in a presentation to city commissioners earlier this week discussing a request to change the property’s Future Land Use and zoning designations to allow a maximum of 98 single-family homes and 122 attached residential units.
Pulte is proposing to build a residential subdivision with traditional single-family homes, along with bungalow-style homes and townhomes. A conceptual site plan shows room for 88 townhomes, 42 bungalow-style homes and 72 single-family homes.
The 64.47-acre site, along Spring Avenue, sits just south of Lake Jessup and is owned by the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation, which took control of the property in 1995, several years after the death of its longtime owner, Jeannette Genius McKean.
McKean is widely known for establishing the Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park. Her grandfather, Charles Hosmer Morse, was a prominent industrialist around the early 1900s and founder of the Fairbanks-Morse Company of Chicago.
In Central Florida history, he’s known for becoming a prominent landowner and influential figure in Winter Park.
Meanwhile in Winter Springs, his family’s property south of Lake Jessup has sat untouched for years.
When the city created the Greeneway Interchange District over 20 years ago on the northwest corner of S.R. 417 and S.R. 434, it did so with the intention to bring more economic opportunity and businesses to the area including those in life sciences, international trade, education and tourism.
Under its current allowances, a developer could potentially build office space at a 2.0 Floor Area Ratio (FAR), retail and restaurants, or hotels. The GID area also permits multifamily development at 21 units per acre, but residents in Winter Springs have held strong opposition to apartment communities.
One of the few developed was built next to the GID boundaries by a partnership between Integra Land Company and CrossHarbor Capital Partners. The partners completed a 360-unit apartment community 1700 Integra Land Way in 2018.
“If the city’s desire is to try to bring office development to the area, the removal of the Genius property does not impede that desire,” Wilson said at the meeting. “There are over 122 developable acres in the GID once you remove ours.”
According to the applicants’ calculations, that would yield over 5 million square feet to 10 million square feet of new office space at a 2.0 FAR, Wilson said. “Five million is probably more office square footage than you see in Downtown Orlando.”
A majority of the developable acres remaining within the GID front S.R. 434. Most of the property is owned by Winnin LLLP, an affiliate of the Casscells family that’s managed by Margaret Cassecells-Hamby, a real estate investor and certified public accountant in Winter Park.
While the GID has yet to come into fruition, the surrounding area near Winter Springs town center is seeing plenty of growth.
Equinox Development is on track to develop a new neighborhood retail center close by that will introduce an ALDI supermarket and drive-thru Chipotle to the city in its planned 58,070-square-foot Winter Springs Marketplace project on the southwest corner of S.R. 434 and Tuskawilla Road.
And Hawthorn Retirement Group just opened a 144-room senior living facility nearby called the Savoy Gracious Retirement Living. The project is located at the southeast corner of Michael Blake Boulevard and S.R. 434.
Also along S.R. 434, Orlando-based Chau Medical Group is expanding its presence in Central Florida with a three-story medical office building on the southwest corner of Hacienda Drive and S.R. 434.