When completed, Town Center East will include retail, restaurants and residential units.
Southwest Orlando-based Boyd Development Corp. purchased 600 acres of Horizon West to develop Town Center East, a master-planned residential, retail and restaurant community.
“Land development always takes awhile to put approvals in place, and we feel in the next two to five years, there will be a good window of time in Central Florida,” said developer Scott Boyd of Windermere. “Despite what I read most weeks in the local newspapers about residential development, there is still a fair amount of residential construction happening in the Horizon West area.”
Scott Boyd teamed up with Dallas-based Stratford Land to purchase the site, which is situated on the northeast and southeast quadrants of the Daniel Webster Western Beltway (State Road 429) at the New Independence Parkway interchange, for $28 million.
John Smogor, assistant manager of the Orange County Planning Division, said that current plans for Town Center East are very similar to those originally proposed for Horizon West, a 21,000-acre sector plan, first conceived in 1995.
Orange County District 1 Commissioner S. Scott Boyd of Winter Garden, no relation to the developer, said in a written statement that he has worked with the development group for more than two years on the project, adding the project will provide jobs and infrastructure for thewest Orange County community.
The county projects the population of Horizon West will range from 32,000 to 63,000 by 2030. The Town Center village, a master-planned community withadequate public facilities, such as parks and school sites, has been approved for 5,310 dwelling units. Scott Boyd’s development can build about 1,700 residential units. A greenbelt surrounds each village in Horizon West.
“This is the first project developed in the town center,” Scott Boyd said. “It’s the only land on the east side of [SR] 429, but it will probably serve as a domino for the remainder of the lands in the next seven to 10 to 15 years in the town center.”
Scott Boyd said the primary intent of the town center, when Horizon West was first envisioned, was to establish an employment base in the community.
“We think the Town Center East project will be the beginning of that,” Scott Boyd said.
The development team is working with Orange County to extend New Independence to connect to existing neighborhoods to the east and to build North Porter Road, which will provide greater access between the site and SR 429.
Smogor said the road extensions were part of the original plan, but there is no resolution about how the work will be funded. The roadway agreement will need to be in place before construction can begin. The site is approved for 1.6 million square feet of office space and 320,000 square feet of big-box and neighborhood retail, with sit-down and fast-food restaurants.
The property will contain many available lots on Lake Hancock, which are attractive to homebuilders. While early development will focus on single-family neighborhoods, ultimately, the town center will contain multifamily rentals and townhomes.
“There is very interesting topography, with the rolling nature of the land, which you do not see a lot of in Central Florida,” Scott Boyd said.
As the project moves closer to breaking ground, the county will give the public a chance to weigh in on any zoning changes.
“We feel we have gone with a good piece of property in a still-active environment,” Scott Boyd said. “There are two or three active areas in town, and this is one of them. We’re excited about the investment.”
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