West Orange is hopping with new construction

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  • | 5:33 p.m. July 2, 2014
Hickory Hammock-JUMBO
Hickory Hammock-JUMBO
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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From Ocoee to Winter Garden and Horizon West, new residential construction in West Orange County continues to roar along on a red-hot pace.

In Ocoee, Orlando-based homebuilder Avex Homes recently announced plans to build 68 town homes at Westyn Bay, a gated community off Ocoee Apopka Road and Westyn Bay Boulevard. The first building at Townhomes at Westyn Bay could open before October, Avex Homes officials said. Priced from the mid $100s, these residences will range from 1,515 to 1,817 square feet.

In Winter Garden, Columbus, Ohio-based M/I Homes just introduced a series of new designs for many of its homes at Hickory Hammock, at Marsh Road and Stoneybrook West Parkway on Johns Lake. This neighborhood will include 500 homes that range from 1,857 to 5,266 square feet and are priced from $286,990 to $566,420.

And next door — just west of Avalon Road and north of Stoneybrook West Parkway — the new Avalon Reserve community continues being built. When completed, it will feature 66 home sites from Orlando-based homebuilder Royal Oak Homes.

“We’re about two-thirds of the way through” the project, Royal Oak Homes sales advisor Nichola Selby said June 27.

She said the company, formerly known as Cambridge Homes, anticipates having all of Avalon Reserve’s homes sold by December. These houses range in size from 2,291 to 4,731 square feet and are priced from $299,999 to $400,999.

Selby said the properties are attracting a mix of buyers.

“Some are moving from Stoneybrook, and some are moving up from Windermere because they wanted something new,” she said. “We’re also seeing people moving down from up north. It’s quite a family-oriented community.”

Overall in Winter Garden, there are roughly 20 subdivisions with a total of about 3,200 homes that are being or are about to be developed, Winter Garden Mayor John Rees said. The majority of these neighborhoods are south of State Road 50, he said.

“Businesses are relocating to Central Florida, so you’re getting a lot of younger families” moving here, he said. “And certainly, with the bitter cold in the North and the Midwest, you’re getting retirees who want to move to sunny Florida.”

The mayor said officials from Winter Garden, Orange County Public Schools, the county and other municipalities must always work together to be prepared for such growth and its impacts on schools, roads and other types of infrastructure.

At Horizon West, single-family home sites began being sold earlier this year in Overlook at Hamlin, the first residential community within the 640-acre, master-planned development of Hamlin. At build-out, Hamlin will have 1,700 home sites, as well as a retail-focused town center that’s expected to generate thousands of jobs.

Located near State Road 429 at the New Independence Parkway interchange, these home sites are being sold by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based homebuilder Taylor Morrison.

Overlook at Hamlin has more than three miles of Lake Hancock waterfront and will feature 381 single-family homes, ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet. Prices range from the high $200s to more than $1 million.

And later this year, Taylor Morrison plans to introduce The Cove at Hamlin. The Cove is just south of the New Independence Parkway along Hamlin Groves Trail. This neighborhood will include 250 homes from the $200s, with floor plans ranging from 1,900 to 4,900 square feet.

In addition, Taylor Morrison recently closed on 107 acres in separate transactions totaling $15.25 million to build two other communities: Havencrest in Dr. Phillips and Southern Oaks, on the border of Oviedo and Winter Springs. Company officials said Havencrest, located off Apopka-Vineland Road and north of Conroy-Windermere Road, will include 87 homes and start being developed next March.

County Commissioner Scott Boyd, whose District 1 includes Horizon West, said this area of West Orange has seen many positive changes compared to when he took office in late 2008.

“Our code-enforcement office here was going through and reassessing the areas hit by foreclosures,” Boyd said. “Though that was going on all over the county, one of the hardest hit was Horizon West. There were a lot of homes with broken windows, the power was off, yards were going brown, and neighbors were really looking out for neighbors.”

In addition to a stronger economy, Horizon West and nearby communities now are benefiting from major road improvements, such as an expansion of S.R. 429 from two to four lanes, as well as from new parks, he said. Future proposed projects in the area include a sports complex featuring several soccer fields, as well as a connection between the Horizon West trail system to the West Orange Trail.

“If there isn’t any (residential/commercial) growth, the infrastructure improvements don’t come,” Boyd said. “What I try to do with our staff here is to try to always stay ahead with all of the infrastructure out there, especially the roads. Parks are behind, but we’re really moving ahead on that in the next year or so.”


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