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Proposed apartment development near Seminole Towne Center generates criticism from environmentalists

The developer wishes to convert more than 20 acres of woodlands into a 352-unit apartment community along Upsala Road.
The developer wishes to convert more than 20 acres of woodlands into a 352-unit apartment community along Upsala Road. (City of Sanford/Seminole County Property Appraiser)

The NRP Group, a Cleveland-based multifamily developer and property manager, is receiving push back from environmental groups regarding its latest venture in Central Florida.

Earlier this week, Sanford city commissioners listened to several environmentalists who believe the developer’s proposed 352-unit apartment community at 1150 Upsala Rd. will disturb some wetlands on the property.

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More than 20 acres of woodlands make up the site near the Seminole Towne Center, whose owner has plans to convert a parking lot at the mall into a new apartment community.

At the public hearing, residents mentioned Sanford’s rapid growth and warned commissioners to be cautious of the environmental harm construction may have on woods and wetlands.

The real estate companies are under contract to buy and develop a portion of the roughly 75-acre mixed-use community just east of SR 429.

Despite their call, city commissioners unanimously agreed to push forward an amendment to the property’s Planned Development rezoning and land use. A second public hearing is set to take place at the next city commission meeting.

Chad Moorhead, president of Madden Moorhead & Stokes based in Maitland, is representing the NRP Group and property owner, Paul Mellini, a successor trustee of the Jeno F. Paulucci Revocable Trust.

After a second hearing, the NRP Group will need to submit a Development Plan for city staff review and seek environmental permits from the St. Johns River Water Management District before commencing construction.

In 2007, a separate developer was looking to redevelop the site as part of a larger 45-acre mixed-use development called the Creekside Center. Those proposed plans spent about three years under review by the water district before ultimately falling through for undisclosed reasons.

If built, Creekside Center would have consisted of 28 apartment buildings, boat and RV parking stations, a clubhouse with a pool and tennis courts, and two commercial buildings for retail and restaurant use.

The SJWMD found more than 4 acres of wetlands on the roughly 45-acre site. At the time, the developer of Creekside Center was seeking to mitigate the impact by preserving 20.5 acres of off-site wetlands within the Paulucci Lake Monroe Wetland Mitigation site.

NRP’s plans avoid a bulk of those wetlands by creating a new and smaller PD, called the NRP PD.

The owners of Seminole Towne Center are seeking to reposition the mall with new entertainment concepts and multifamily residences.

A conceptual site plan for its proposed apartment community shows it is seeking to build four, 4-story multifamily buildings that will surround a retention pond. Amenities include a community dog park, clubhouse with pool, and multiple garages for storage use.

This will be the second community The NRP Group is planning in Central Florida. Last year, GrowthSpotter reported the developer had been signed onto the 75-acre Ocoee Village Center community in northern Ocoee, along with Park Square Homes and Konover South.

The Cleveland-based multifamily real estate company is developing a 320-unit apartment complex on about 15 acres of land on the northernmost point of Ocoee Village Center.

In 2016, NRP completed its first development in Central Florida, the 196-unit Lake Vue apartment complex off Turkey Lake Road with frontage on Big Sand Lake. Its project in Ocoee would be its second multifamily community in Central Florida.

Representatives at the company were not immediately available to comment.

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Meanwhile, nearby its Sanford site, New York mall operator Kohan Retail Investment Group is making plans to redevelop the Seminole Towne Center into a mixed-use destination that will feature new entertainment concepts and multifamily residences.

KRIG wants to partner with multifamily developers to build on a vacant and wooded 13.5-acre site next to the mall, located east of Towne Center Boulevard and north of WP Ball Boulevard, as well as on the parking lot for Macy’s.

Near Sanford’s SunRail station, Condev is proposing a mixed-use community with up to 120 senior living units, 840 multifamily units, and entitlements to allow for up to 15,000 square feet of office space and 25,000 square feet of retail and restaurant uses.

Tampa-based DeBartolo Development is planning a 288-unit apartment complex on roughly 12.5 acres across the SunRail station.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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