From Orlando Business Journal by Anjali Fluker, Senior Staff Writer
A South Florida developer wants to build a $45 million, 360-unit apartment complex in the Horizon West community — its first project in the Orlando area.
Palm Beach Gardens-based Ram Residential LLC, which operates several multifamily communities in South Florida, plans to buy a 21-acre site near Walt Disney World for an undisclosed price. There, it will develop the Residences at Lakeside Village later this year.
Avatar Properties Inc., which owns the land, wants Orange County permission to shift the project from townhomes to an apartment complex. If approved, Ram Residential will complete the land deal by April and begin site work by May, said Hugo Pacanins, vice president of Ram Residential. A general contractor has yet to be selected.
It’s one of many projects in the works as demand for new apartments grows. About 6,000 apartments were planned for the region as of September 2011, compared with 1,044 units in 2010, said Charlotte, N.C.-based apartment market research firm Real Data Inc.
Apartment vacancy rates in Orlando are slated to be 6.8 percent this year, down from 8.4 percent last year, while rents are expected to rise 3.1 percent to $883 per month, predicted real estate brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.
Meanwhile, southwest Orlando — which includes Horizon West — is a hot submarket for residential and related commercial development, said Kyle Riva, president of Winter Park-based apartment developer Epoch Properties Inc., pointing to the area’s available land and proximity to theme parks as reasons for the growth.
Ram Realty Services and Orlando-based Boyd Development Corp. are building the 129,000-square-foot, $18 million Lakeside Village shopping center next to the apartment complex site.
The Orange County Commission is expected to approve the Residences at Lakeside Village plan at its Feb. 21 meeting.
The garden-style apartment complex will have a clubhouse with a fitness center and billiards room, a swimming pool, picnic tables, a tennis court, a tot lot and a dog park, said Karen McIntyre, project manager with Forum Architecture & Interior Design Inc. and Ram Residential’s architect. Rents will range from $950 to $1,600 per month.