The same development team that recently completed The Gate apartments at ChampionsGate could be the first to capitalize on Osceola County's massive NeoCity mixed-use district.
Investors Realty Chairman John Marling is seeking Tourist Commercial zoning for a 16-acre parcel on Vine Street/E-192 that will border the new man-made lake in NeoCity. He's planning a $50 million Class A apartment complex.
"We're calling it Neo Square," he told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. "What we're thinking is it's just a really great site, and I like it a lot better on the south side of 192. Being on the south side is really neat because our bicycles will be able to tie into the trail system and get downtown (to Kissimmee)."
Construction is already underway on the 155-acre lake that will serve as both an amenity and regional stormwater facility. The lake will be built in two phases and surrounded by a five-kilometer paved multi-use trail that will also link up to the future boardwalk and retail hub within NeoCity.
"We're going to do a two-story clubhouse, and the entire second floor will be a wall of glass with great views of the lake," Marling said. "We're also committing $100,000 to an eventual dock or pier to meet Osceola County planning requirements."
The apartment buildings will be four-story, elevator-served with interior corridors. The complex will have 292 units with a variety of floorplans.
The site is located outside of NeoCity-proper, the 500-acre tech district anchored by the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center. That's important because most of the property on the new lakefront will be controlled by Osceola County, and the county's NeoCity master plan recommends reserving those premium lakefront sites for at least a decade to allow them to appreciate.
In June, Marling won approval for a lot-split on a 28-acre agricultural parcel directly across from the main entrance to Valencia College's Osceola County campus. He said all of the public space will have WiFi service, and the apartments themselves will be wired with fiber to accommodate high-speed internet service.
"They're going to be very comparable to The Gate in terms of quality," Marling said. "The main difference is at ChampionsGate most of the buildings are five stories. These will all be four stories, but we're going to have the really nice pool and amenities."
A planned 6,610-square-foot clubhouse would feature two fitness centers, a business center and indoor and outdoor lounge spaces.
"About 52 percent of our residents have pets, so we're building a $25,000 dog park with a washing station, too," Marling said.
The site falls within the E192 CRA district and is in the "Tech Transitional zone," which has strict architectural guidelines designed to complement NeoCity.
Philadelphia-based architect and planner James Carr is both co-developer and architect for the project. Marling said Carr has partnered with Investors Realty for more than a dozen multifamily projects, including Bella Apartment Homes just off W192.
The development team includes Rj Whidden & Associates for permitting and entitlements and Hanson Walter & Asssociates for engineering. Marling said Jacksonville-based LandSouth Construction will be general contractor, which will be their fifth project together.
Marling said his financing is in process now, and he has the equity commitment. Closing on the property is expected before the end of the year, and Marling hopes to break ground in April 2018.
He expects a 14- to 18-month construction period, but anticipates being able to open the clubhouse, office and first building early -- by First Quarter 2019.
Neo Square is one of several new apartment communities that should be under construction by next year near NeoCity.
And developer Richard Yates is seeking a Comprehensive Plan Amendment to allow more than 500 apartments on a 23-acre parcel north of Osceola Heritage Park. The Yates site will link to NeoCity via the future Bill Beck Boulevard extension. His case goes to the Planning Commission on Thursday.