Tavistock submits plans for new Sunbridge element, mixed-use district in Osceola

Tavistock Development Company filed a 30-page rezoning application on Tuesday for the 19,000-acres of its massive new Sunbridge community in Osceola County.

"Utilizing best practices in place making, Sunbridge is intended to transform the (Northeast District) into a balanced, mixed-use community that will drive significant employment and economic activity for Osceola County," the document reads.

The developer also filed a concurrent Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA) to slightly modify the state-approved NE District Element into a newly renamed Sunbridge Element.

The entire project spans two counties, with another 4,787 acres in southeast Orange County. Tavistock filed the rezoning and Regulating Plan in Orange County back in late March and is on track to complete that rezoning process by December in Orange. But the size and scope of the Osceola portion necessitated more time. 

Tavistock had provided a glimpse of its development plans for Osceola last April, when it applied to create a Community Development District for the first 711 acres slated for development. But the documents filed this week provide more insight into the community's transportation network, urban centers and housing types. 

It calls for a vibrant mix of residential and commercial uses designed to attract "leading companies, bright minds and innovative ideas." There are six different neighborhood types that can accommodate a variety of incomes and density levels. 

Neighborhoods would be designed compactly, so the distance from the center to the edge would be no more than a quarter-mile "to encourage pedestrian activity." Homes would be built so they face the street or public spaces, with balconies, entries, porches and architectural features to "enliven" the street and create a safe walking environment.

Elementary schools will be sited to promote walkability, while middle schools should be co-located in larger "community centers."  

The entire project is divided into three phases, with targeted completion dates of 2025, 2040 and 2055. The proposed Sunbridge Element buildout scenario includes: 

  • Residential: 20,470 single family homes (3,095 in phase 1)
  • Residential: 8,850 multifamily units (475 in phase 1)
  • Office/Industrial: 7 million square feet (182,000 square feet in phase 1)
  • Retail/Commercial: 1.54 million square feet (188,000 square feet in phase 1)
  • Institutional/Civic: 2 million square feet not including schools
  • Hotel: 2,200 rooms (down from 5,000 in the NE Element)

Sunbridge is also divided into three geographical staging areas, which don't correlate with the phases.

The plan calls for development of a regional employment center along the Osceola Parkway Extension within stage one. The developer must meet specific criteria before commencing on the second stage. That includes creation of 4,000 jobs and completion of 7,000 dwelling units.

The size of the stages in the proposed Sunbridge element are different from the existing NE District Plan, but the threshholds for moving from one stage to another remain the same, spokeswoman Jessi Blakely said.

Another major difference from the county's NE District Plan involves the location of special districts, which are defined as areas that need a large amount of land and should not be mixed with other types of uses. That could include industrial uses, airports, correctional facilities or even cemeteries.

In the NE Element, two of those districts were located in the area between Lake Myrtle and Lake Preston. The Tavistock plan shifts those uses to the southern outskirts of the community, closer to major roadways, and adds residential uses closer to the lakes.

"Significant infrastructure investments will be made upfront and sustained efforts will be taken to target multiple industries," Tavistock's planning team wrote in the document. "A new Sunbridge Parkway running from Nova Road to a new interchange with S.R. 528 in Orange County will provide improved access to Sunbridge, accelerating the job creation potential for the project."

Blakely said Sunbridge Parkway initially would be constructed as a 2-lane rural road and would expand to four lanes over the life of the project. "It will have multi-modal characteristics, especially when it runs through the middle of the larger 'centers' within the project," she said.

CDD-issued bonds are expected to generate $26.8 million for off-site road improvements and some infrastructure, but Tavistock officials have said the bonds will only cover a portion of the initial costs.

Mahmoud Najda, who chairs the county's Development Review Committee, said rezoning and CPA applications typically are placed on DRC agendas within a month. But in this case, it could take longer because the submittal was found to be insufficient.

Tavistock should have applied for a PD instead of a rezoning. Planning officials said the clock would start as soon as the developer files the correct application and pays the applicable fee.  Because of the size and complexity of the project, it's likely to take staff longer than 30 days to review the applications and compare them to the approved NE District plan.

Editor's note: This story was updated with comments from DRC Chairman Mahmoud Najda.

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