St. Cloud's City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on two contracts to sell a combined 198 acres to a Longwood developer for an ambitious, commercial-focused mixed-use development along Canoe Creek Road.
Telesis Services LLC beat out three other competitive bidders for the 56-acre parcel and a larger parcel with 142 acres of the Stevens Plantation Special Improvement Dependent Special District (DSD).
The firm's combined $8.25 million bid was $750,000 higher than its closest competitor, Elevation Development.
Telesis Vice President Scott Banta told GrowthSpotter he developed the high-density concept in close consultation with city staff.
"They had a vision of a mixed-use project that included hotels, apartments and commercial retail space -- and not many single-family homes or townhomes," Banta said on Tuesday. "After talking with them, we sat down and came up with a plan that embodied their vision."
The initial concept for The Galleria at Canoe Creek includes two hotel pads, structured parking and two 300-unit apartment complexes. The development plan also includes 120 townhomes, an office building site, a self-storage site, multi-tenant retail and six outparcels fronting Canoe Creek Road.
The plan includes multiple lakes and at least six miles of nature trails throughout the project linking it to Peghorn Nature Park and St. Cloud Elementary School. Banta said he also plans to build a pedestrian bridge over Canoe Creek Road.
"Based on my conversations and preliminary meetings with the city, this is what they want," he said. "We've been twice to the city council with the plan, and they seem to be excited about the plan. I believe they wanted intense uses to create high levels of tax dollars."
Banta said he was drawn to the project partly because of St. Cloud's double-digit population growth. The other main factor is NeoCity. He believes the 500-acre tech district on E192 could have the same economic impact for St. Cloud that Medical City had for Lake Nona.
"NeoCity is projected to create 120,000 jobs in the next 50 years," he said. "Those people are going to need somewhere to live."
The Stevens North property had been under contract twice before, most recently in 2015. In both cases the prospective buyers were focusing primarily on residential development even though the property is zoned for mixed-use.
Banta said most of the mixed-use development coming into the city has been low density with minimal commercial development. He sees a limited supply of commercial sites south of U.S. 192, which makes the Canoe Creek property perfectly suited to serve the growing population around Alligator Lake and Lake Gentry.
"There's a lot of approved residential projects in that area, so the rooftops are coming," Banta said. "We're looking at pushing dirt in spring or summer of 2019 and going vertical in 2020."
Banta said Telesis may end up developing the townhomes, but the bulk of the property would be subdivided and sold to end users following permit approvals, engineering and site development.
"We're going to make some modifications to the master plan to make it better," he said. "This was a quick version to show them how the site could fit their vision."
In addition, the developer agreed to dedicate a 16-acre pad-ready site on Canoe Creek to the city for a new police and fire administration building. The firm also must build a traffic signal and an east-west road through the project linking Canoe Creek to Budinger Avenue, estimated to cost $3 million. A portion of that would be eligible for mobility fee credits.
Banta's Deal Hounds Realty will earn a $179,360 brokerage fee after the sale closes.