Located between Errol Parkway and Vick Road in Apopka, the Errol Estates property has fallen on hard times in recent years, like many legacy golf courses in Florida.
Veteran commercial real estate developer Helmut J. Wyzisk, Jr. was brought in by the course and country club's owner in late 2015 to save the property from default. He put together a team in Spring 2016 that arrived at an economic model to redevelop vast portions with new commercial anchors and residential, while elevating the golf course's status.
Dubbed "New Errol," a Planned Unit Development Master Plan for the property was inspired by amenities at communities like Reunion Resort and Baldwin Park.
The project's rezoning application earned Apopka City Council approval in late August, and the PUD/FLU amendment was transmitted to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for review.
That DEO review was delayed a bit by Hurricane Irma in recent weeks, but was approved on Oct. 19, said marketing manager Helmut Wyzisk III.
A second round now follows with Apopka's Planning Commission and City Council to conclude the rezoning process. A filing of the first Development Plan is anticipated for early First Quarter 2018, and Signature H is also beginning its work on a Developer's Agreement with the city.
"Now that we've been approved by the DEO we're looking to finalize our rezoning by the end of this year. Our hope is that the city will expedite this process," Wyzisk III said. "The city has been a strong supporter of the project, and held two special planning meetings to date, one (drew) a 400-person attendance at the (Planning Commission hearing) in July."
Total project cost is now estimated at more than $150 million, said Wyzisk, Jr. Signature H is working with a finance consultant on structuring the balance of equity, debt and mezzanine financing, and how to subordinate the first land transaction for the equity, he added.
The PUD Master Plan calls for a new 25,000-square-foot clubhouse with underground golf cart barn, restaurant, boutique 40-room lodge hotel, a two-acre water park, outdoor trails and park space, up to 261 new homes (67 single-family, 194 townhomes), and a 240-unit assisted living facility (180 units standard, and a 60-unit skilled care section for acute rehab).
The project's first DP should be fairly comprehensive, though focused on the elements to be built out for Phase 1, which would include the cut-in of a new entrance off of Vick Road, clubhouse, aquatic amenity, the lodge, some of the first home lots and part of the assisted living facility. Second- and third-phase DPs would follow in late 2018 and beyond.
The project's construction manager, Karotech Construction Group, has brough on Boyd Civil for all civil engineering services. Karotech expects to pursue contractor selections in January for mass grading to site balance, and reconstruction of the golf course. Construction permits for that Phase 1 work are estimated for March 2018.
Because of the limited number of home lots that will be built in phases on spec, Signature H plans to recruit its own sales team to market those homes instead of hiring a residential brokerage firm as exclusive listing agent, Wyzisk III said.
Signature H has yet to hire its architect and residential construction manager, which would oversee the first phase of 134 homes. All of the project's conceptual plans had been produced in-house by staff with architectural experience.
Jonathan Huels of Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed, P.A., was recently hired as land use attorney. Management group selections for the golf course, lodge and assisted living facility are still being finalized, Wyzisk, Jr. said.