New 2,900-Home Agrihood Planned Near UCF
An Orlando developer is taking the sustainable farm-to-table movement to the extreme with plans for a new $1 billion, 1,237-acre mixed-use development near the University of Central Florida.
Dwight Saathoff’s related Project Finance & Development LLC announced plans to start construction in 2016 on a new 2,900-home working farm community, known as an “agrihood,” between Lake Pickett Road and Colonial Drive in east Orange County.
The project, which will be centered around a 9-acre revenue-generating farm, with single-family homes, 17 acres of community gardens, edible walking trails, scenic pastoral spaces, fishing ponds, an equestrian center, neighborhood parks and elementary school around Lake Tanner, said a news release. It also will be designed to be bike- and pedestrian-friendly, with 7 percent less pavement to reduce vehicle use and instead encourage walking or biking.
Amenities will include a central gathering area in and around an authentic barn for social events, farmer’s market, farm-to-table restaurant serving food grown in the community, and shops.
“This is a unique opportunity for our company to introduce Orlando to a new residential concept where the emphasis is on sustainable living by integrating farming into neighborhoods,” said Saathoff, president of Project Finance & Development, in a prepared statement. “It will be a landmark community in Central Florida influenced by past generations when people lived off the land growing their own foods and sharing with neighbors. There will be a nostalgic atmosphere throughout the community from the overall aesthetics of the development to the social aspects and outdoor activities.”
Saathoff’s firm would serve as master developer of this project, developing the infrastructure for the overall community and then bringing in homebuilders to do the residential side and commercial developers for other elements. But Saathoff wants to be involved in operations of the integrated 9-acre working farm, something that just gets him excited, he said.
“A lot of times, development is about getting approvals and then selling out pieces of it, so you coordinate with buyers who will figure out who builds the roads and who digs the pond,” Saathoff told Orlando Business Journal. “But this is much more of an operating business. It’s not something I want to entitle, sell and then forget about.”
This project adds to plans for a neighboring mixed-use development by Fort Myers-based Lake Pickett North LLC at the 1,435-acre, 100-year-old Rybolt Ranch. Plans for that development include nearly 2,000 homes and 100,000 square feet of “neighborhood supporting” commercial space.
Though still in the planning stages, Saathoff worked with consultants to come up with some images that might give an idea of how the agrihood community may shape up, and Orange County is hosting a community meeting on April 28th to discuss the project. Take a look at some of those images and the site plan for the community below. What feature of the preliminary plan appeals the most to you?
Source: “Exclusive: New 2,900-home agrihood planned near UCF,” Orlando Business Journal