Condev preps 16-unit luxury townhome redevelopment of Winter Park church site

Bob Moser

Winter Park-based developer Condev Companies has a 59-year-old church property under contract near Winter Park's Park Avenue, with plans to redevelop as 16 luxury townhomes while the church retains a portion for its own new building. 

Located at 650 N. New York Ave. on the corner with Whipple Avenue, a block west of the Winter Park Country Club, the 2.38-acre property is owned by and home to the First Church of Christ Scientist, which has held its services there for decades in buildings that date to 1958, and were designed by James Gamble Rogers II. 

The church leadership began looking at redevelopment opportunities for the parcel a few years ago, consulted with a handful of prospective developers and ultimately chose Condev, which in May put the northern 1.43 acres under contract. 

UPDATE: Condev affiliate WP View, LLC paid $5.035 million on Oct. 6 for the property.

"We're excited for the opportunity to partner with the church and add this new type of product" to our portfolio, president Chris Gardner told GrowthSpotter on Friday. Founded in 1969, Condev has built and developed custom homes, residential subdivisions and a handful of small commercial projects in Greater Orlando and elsewhere in Central Florida. 

The developer has filed requests with the city to amend the Comprehensive Plan's Future Land Use Map to change the property's FLU from Institutional to Medium-Density Residential, in order to match the existing multifamily zoning.

They're also requesting subdivision approval to split the 2.38 acres of the church property to create a northern parcel of 1.43 acres, to be purchased by Condev Land LLC to build the 16 fee-simple townhomes, and to create a southern 0.95-acre portion to be retained by the church.

Those allow for a conditional use approval to build 16 three-story townhomes, developed as eight separate duplexes with an average unit size of 4,700 square feet. The homes would share a central pedestrian walkway with fountains, planters and a garden trellis overhead. 

Winter Park's Planning and Zoning Board will review the three requests on Oct. 3, after which a final site plan would go before city commissioners for two hearings in late October and November. 

Condev is scheduled to close in mid- to late October and has a hard deposit, Gardner said. 

The church has a demolition permit request still under city review. Condev is a general contractor itself, but has not decided yet if it will self-perform the project or hire another GC, Gardner said.

The developer is targeting a First Quarter 2018 construction start, which may fluctuate based on unit pre-sales. Total project cost is estimated between $15 million and $18 million, and a construction loan will be sought in the coming months, Gardner said.

No exclusive real estate brokerage firm has been chosen yet to handle pre-sale marketing. 

Pre-sale pricing for the Condev homes are anticipated in the low $2 million range, Gardner said. It's a bargain compared to the $3.5 million average list price of the 10-unit luxury townhome project "Park Hill" one block to the east, where Oviedo-based Hill Gray Seven is now building three-story units of roughly 4,300 square feet each.

ACi is the project architect, LandDesign, Inc. the landscape architect, and AVCON, Inc. is civil engineer.

The proposed unit count is within the per-acre maximum density allowed by the zoning, and it's very similar in density and height to the townhome project now under construction to the east, at 633-651 N. Park Ave. 

Staff are recommending approval, in part because they consider the proposed townhomes to be compatible with the surrounding properties, and serve as an attractive transition into Downtown Winter Park.

The church has also engaged ACi as architect to help develop a new church building conceptual plan for the 0.95 acres it will retain. A timeline hasn't been established for that project, Gardner said.  

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