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Surrey Homes in early stages of developing mid-priced homes near St. Johns River

Surrey Homes in early stages of developing mid-priced homes near St. Johns River
This map shows the proposed site (in red) for a residential subdivision to be developed by Surrey Homes. The development, unnamed, is in early stages of entitlement. (Seminole County Property Appraiser)

Winter Park-based Surrey Homes is eying an 83-acre site near the St. Johns River in Seminole County for a new subdivision.

The home builder has a contract on the land, located on the north side of East S.R. 46, 2,000 feet east of East Lake Mary Boulevard. The property, now vacant, is owned by American Business Investments Group LLC, a firm led by real estate investors Liyakatali and Abbas Datoo of Lake Mary.

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Surrey has filed a conceptual plan with Seminole County showing 200 homes. But the company's president, Christian Swann, told GrowthSpotter that number will likely be downsized.

"I don't think the county is going to approve that narrow a lot," Swann said of the plan submitted to Seminole planners. "My guess is after we do our due diligence, we're hoping we'll end up with between 130-150 homes. We're looking to do 50-foot lots and maybe some larger lots on the perimeter."

This is a conceptual plan for a yet-unnamed residential subdivision proposed by Surrey Homes east of Sanford. The plan is preliminary and may change.
This is a conceptual plan for a yet-unnamed residential subdivision proposed by Surrey Homes east of Sanford. The plan is preliminary and may change. (LandDesign)

The homes will likely range in price from the high $200,000s to the low $300,000s, Swann said, and will be sized from 1,700-1,800 square feet to 3,300 square feet. The majority would lie in the 2,400-square-foot range, he said.

But the firm's plans for this project are so early in the process that few details can be nailed down, Swann said. So far, Surrey has submitted a pre-application inquiry request and the county staff has replied with some comments. One of the first steps will be getting the land rezoned from grazing land and agriculture, to Planned Development (PD).  That step alone could take six months, Swann said.

"We've not gone back for a formal zoning request and we won't until we do our due diligence, primarily the wetlands. That's the big unknown," Swann said.

Maps show large swaths of the property are covered in wetlands. Swann guessed that half of the property may be too wet to develop, but that won't be known for sure until the firm's consultants conduct a wetlands delineation.

At any rate, the earliest Surrey is will be able to sell homes will be mid-2021, Swann said. He expects the development to do well because surrounding road networks are good, giving residents easy access to area job centers around Sanford and Lake Mary. Plus, Seminole County, with its reputation for topnotch schools, is "land constrained," Swann said. Most of the large, developable tracts already taken.

"The county is really getting close to being built-out," he said, "and these are some of the last parcels to be had and still be below the $350,000 price point."

Surrey has built one development in Seminole County previously: Acuera, located at the intersection of Longwood-Markham Road and Markham Road near Lake Mary. The 38-lot, gated community lies along the St. Johns River and features homes priced up to $1 million.

Swann said Surrey has contracts on seven properties in Central Florida, four of which are fully entitled and ready for site development. He declined to identify the properties.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Christopher Swann is president of Surrey Homes. An earlier version of this article listed the wrong title.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at Newsroom@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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