After years of being tied up in legal disputes and precarious deals, some roughly 110 acres in Seminole County may finally see construction equipment on site.
Court records show the former Flea World site along U.S. 17-92 has secured a purchase agreement with Taylor Morrison for about $19.2 million.
The homebuilder is involved in a cash sale agreement for the property with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, the recognized beneficiary. Records state all net proceeds from the sale of the property will be disbursed directly to the charity.
Most of the legal disputes surrounding the deal stemmed from various unresolved negotiations over the property that were taking place before and after the passing of its longtime owner, philanthropist Sydney Allen Levy, in 2018.
In 2014, Levy engaged with the planning company Reagan Center Development LLC, managed by real estate consultants Randall Morris and Richard Wolfhart, to help obtain all the approvals necessary for a large mixed-use development, according to a complaint filed in 2019 in the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Courts of Florida.
After Levy’s passing the plaintiff, Regan Center Development LLC, claimed the Estate failed to pay monthly $6,000 payments for the entitlement and sale of the property. NAI Realvest was mentioned as the anticipated broker.
Court records show the complaint was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff and defendant parties last year.
Another ongoing legal matter in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida is in the middle of finalizing settlements to establish the validity of the last will and testament of Sydney A. Levy dated Dec. 23, 2014, and the distribution of the Estate’s inheritance.
Earlier this month, the court recognized that the Syd and Marianne Levy Fidelity Charitable Fund has no remaining interest in the purchase and sale agreement, nor the proceeds from the sale of the property
After the Estate and the Syd and Marianne Levy Fidelity Charitable Fund disclaimed its interest, the Boys and Girls Club became the anticipated beneficiary.
The property was previously under contract with Palmeira Holdings LLC, which planned a large mixed-used community called Parkside Place, but the deal fell through.
Orlando-based Olde Town Brokers’ Maria Blanchard and Patricia Sullivan are representing both sides of the deal and helped procure Taylor Morrison as a legitimate buyer and developer for the property.
In a written statement regarding the sale, Rebecca Hammock, development services director in Seminole County, said planning officials had an informal meeting with an engineer and a representative from Taylor Morrison to discuss existing entitlements and the process to develop the land.
“No site plans or renderings have been provided to the county, however, they have expressed a desire to build single-family homes at this location,” she said. “County planning staff advised Taylor Morrison’s representatives that they would want to see mixed-use development on this site to include non-residential uses as well as some multi-family uses.”
Current entitlements allow for 1.7 million square feet of office/commercial space, more than 5,000 rental units, a 312-bed assisted-living facility, and a 250-room hotel.
Representatives with Taylor Morrison did not respond to requests for comment.
Just across the site, Seminole County is embarking on a roughly $490 million ten-year plan that will move most of its civil court operations and administrative offices to its Five Points campus along U.S. 17-92. The plans would turn the current campus into a more user-friendly government campus with new municipal buildings, roadways, amenities and restaurants.
Taylor Morrison, the nation’s fifth-largest production builder, is familiar with building large-scale mixed-use developments.
It’s currently planning Westvue, a 2,550-acre master-planned community located west of the Poinciana Parkway toll road that straddles the Osceola-Polk county line, which will include one of the company’s Esplanade branded active adult, resort-style communities.
The project features a mix of single-family homes and townhomes, as well as some commercial lots. At the neighboring Solivita Marketplace, the builder has found buyers for various multifamily and retail parcels while focusing on its core product line.
Taylor Morrison is also building Harvest at Ovation in Horizon West. Plans call for 285 single-family home lots and 161 townhomes on 90 acres along Hartzog Road, east of Avalon Road.