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CELEBRATING THE LIFE AND STYLE OF THE HORIZON WEST AREA

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The Golden

WEST

HOW HORIZON WEST IS RESHAPING WEST ORANGE COUNTY.


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Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge, with its Panther Lake and Crooked Cat golf courses, predates Horizon West. But now, because the sprawling complex abuts the development, it’s become an extraordinary amenity for golf-loving residents.


THE

NEW WEST There’s a reason NEARLY half of the new homes being built in Orange County are being built in this master-planned community.

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by Randy Noles

hey’re having a heat wave way out west. No, we don’t mean the western United States, nor do we mean sweltering temperature. We mean west Orange County — and the heat can be measured not on a thermometer but in new-home starts. The New-Urbanist (or New-Suburbanist) Horizon West master-planned community remains the hottest growth area in Central Florida and one of the busiest master-planned communities in the country. There had been fewer than 20 active neighborhoods underway in 2014. But by 2019, there were more than 30 — with plenty of new ones in the pipeline. Today, homes being built in Horizon West account for 42 percent of residential construction permits issued in Orange County.

Plus, commercial and retail projects to serve all those new residents — 61,000 is the latest population estimate — are now opening or are soon to open. In Florida, only The Villages, the massive retirement community located mostly in Sumter County, is growing faster than Horizon West, which is generally defined as bordered on the east by State Road 535, the north by Tilden Road, the south by Walt Disney World and west by the Orange County/Lake County line. The community, which will have about 40,000 homes at build-out, will likely take another 20 years to complete and will ultimately be home to some 85,000 people — about as many

as Ocoee and Winter Garden combined and nearly three times the size of Winter Park. And it’s generally affordable, considering its location. Homes in Horizon West, on average, have sold for $418,036 compared with $467,095 in nearby Dr. Phillips and $975,318 in tony Windermere, one of the region’s most affluent pockets of wealth. So, in terms of sheer activity and energy, it’s unquestionably sizzling in Horizon West these days — and smudge pots that used to protect rolling acres of citrus groves can now be found only in museums. And it’s a charmingly cohesive place despite its size, and Horizon W est Update H 5


despite the sometimes-confusing fact that residents may have Winter Garden, Windermere or Orlando addresses. There are Horizon West networking groups, book clubs, sports leagues and business groups. The Horizon West Alliance, a volunteer advocacy group of residents, is always finding new ways to create connectivity

A CHILLY PROLOGUE

Remarkably, the concept behind this history-making project was dreamed up in 1992 by a cadre of property owners — many of them citrus growers — who regularly met for breakfast at a local diner. Over coffee and eggs, they pondered what might be done with tens of thousands of acres that hadn’t been practical for agricultural use since a ruinous Christmas Day freeze in 1989. Why not sell it to developers, like so many other growers had done? In this case, it wasn’t quite so simple. The county’s landuse plan called for the vast tracts upon which groves had once flourished to remain rural. Under the plan, which placed a large swath of southwest Orange County outside the urban service area, housing would be limited to one unit for every 5 or 10 acres. Property now unsuitable for citrus would be unsuitable for subdivisions, too. Without water and sewer lines, the county’s theory went, developers would be forced to find land within the urban service area’s boundaries, thereby minimizing sprawl. In fact, developers simply leapfrogged the rural expanses of southwest Orange and began building thousands of new homes in Lake County to the west and Osceola County to the south. Many buyers of those homes worked in Orange County. Further vexing to the property owners — dozens of them, who cumulatively held more than 38,000 acres — was the fact that their land abutted Walt Disney World to the south. With more than 74,000 jobs, Disney was, and remains, the largest single-site employer in the U.S. Clearly, keeping southwest Orange rural didn’t make sense. Still, the property owners knew that to get the designation changed, they’d have to propose something more comprehensive, more carefully thought out and more cutting edge than anything county officials had seen before. Not-for-profit Horizon West Inc. was formed in 1993 with the mission of putting a development plan forward. The organization hired the land-planning firm of Miller, Sellen, Connor and Walsh (now VBH MillerSellen) to craft an approach that regulators would buy into.

AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH

Jim Sellen, then president of the company, was Orange County’s planning director in the late 1970s. He knew that county officials would never agree to extend the urban service area for piecemeal projects. He also knew that the county had been pushing growth east, not west, because of the University of Central Florida and the Cen-

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tral Florida Research Park as well as Orlando International Airport. However, Sellen agreed that saddling the decimated groves with a rural designation was counterproductive under the circumstances. The land was adjacent to major employers and it was high and dry, ideal for building. Plus, far from discouraging sprawl, the situation was making it worse. “I encouraged the landowners to think beyond their individual parcels and present something unified,” said Sellen in a 2016 interview with Homebuyer: Central Florida Edition. In devising a master plan for Horizon West, Sellen and his colleagues drew in part upon the pioneering work of Sir Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928), whose 1898 publication, To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, described self-sufficient communities linked by road and rail. Those “garden cities” would surround a larger, central city. But the planners also looked at current trends in New Urbanism, Disney’s Celebration development being a prime local example. In addition, they studied well-established communities such as Winter Park, which remained a model for smart planning a century after its founding. Added Sellen: “What we came up with was so simple that it was powerful.”

A VILLAGE CONCEPT

Horizon West, as it was originally envisioned, would contain six to eight Howard-style villages consisting of two to four neighborhoods. Schools and community parks would be within walking distance — a half-mile or less — of the homes, and the size of each neighborhood would be pegged to the capacity of its school. Each village would have its own Village Center with such essentials as a grocery store and a drugstore. A major mixed-use Town Center encompassing homes, shops, offices and public areas would serve all the villages. Bicycle and pedestrian paths would line every street and

PUBLIC SCHOOLS ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS Bay Lake Elementary (Opened in 2016) Castleview Elementary (Opened in 2019) Independence Elementary (Opened in 2015) Keene’s Crossing Elementary (Opened in 2009) Sunset Park Elementary (Opened in 2007) Water Spring Elementary (Opened in 2019) MIDDLE SCHOOLS Bridgewater Middle (Opened in 2007) Horizon West Middle (Opened in 2019) HIGH SCHOOL Windermere High (Opened in 2017)


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Although Horizon West is served by many public schools, perhaps none was more needed than a new high school. Windermere High School, with 2,205 students, opened in 2017.

connect Village Centers and neighborhoods to one another. Thousands of acres of green space would be preserved. Bob Freeman, the county commissioner whose district encompassed southwest Orange, pushed hard for the project, in part because he knew that the prospect of a large-scale development would expedite extension of S.R. 429. (Today the limited-access toll road, formally known as the Daniel Webster Western Beltway, runs from U.S. Highway 441 in Apopka south through Horizon West to I-4 south of Disney.) Then-commission Chairperson Linda Chapin was also supportive, and even pressed the county to pitch in money and staff time to help finalize the presentation. Dozens of community meetings were also held to get feedback. The next task was to convince the state Department of Community Affairs, which had the authority to approve or reject changes to local land-use plans. (The agency is now called the Division of Community Development and is part of the Department of Economic Opportunity.) Charles Gauthier, then the DCA’s director of community planning, was initially skeptical — but changed his mind after H8 H o r izo n W e st U p d ate

seeing what Sellen and company had cooked up. “Our thought was, ‘Boy, now’s the time to get out ahead of this,’” Gauthier said in a 1998 interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “In 20 years of experience, this was the most sophisticated planning I’d seen.” To facilitate the project, the state and the county adopted an innovative, two-tiered approach that allowed Horizon West to bypass the cumbersome Development of Regional Impact review process. The Optional Sector Planning Program, a pilot to accommodate Horizon West and four other demonstration projects throughout the state, called for the creation of a conceptual buildout plan for the entire area. Once the larger-scale sector plans were vetted and approved, they’d be augmented by more targeted specific area plans for the individual villages and the Town Center. Orange County approved the conceptual plan, entitled A Village Land Use Classification and Horizon West Study Report, in July 1995. In the years that followed, specific area plans have been submitted and approved as new phases have gotten underway.


A LIFESTYLE TO LOVE

The appeal of Horizon West is further enhanced by two major amenities immediately to the northeast and the southwest. In 2010 ground was broken on what was then called the Horizon West SportsPlex, which is off Tiny Road and abuts the development to the north and the northeast. Today the 220acre site is called Horizon West Regional Park. The park, about one-third the size of Central Park in New York City, is mostly raw land. But county officials hope that one day it will encompass natural areas, botanical gardens, sports fields, performance venues and an array of other amenities. At press time, the county was accepting bids for a master planner. In February 2019, Orange County Commissioner Betsy VanderLey — whose district encompasses Horizon West — discussed ideas for the park in a public meeting with Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who described the property as having the potential to be one of the county’s crown jewels. “The vision we cast for this park will impact generations to come,” VanderLey wrote Horizon West Happenings, the community’s new magazine. Abutting Horizon West to the south is the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge, which was opened in the 1990s and has now enabled the development to offer worldclass golf as an amenity without having to build a golf course. Orange County National consists of two 18-hole courses —

the Panther Lake and Crooked Cat courses — as well as a 9-hole course, a 42-acre practice facility, a 22,000-square-foot lighted putting green, an on-property lodge and a beautifully appointed clubhouse with a restaurant and meeting/event facilities.

HEALTHCARE AND EDUCATION

Southwest Orange County has two premier hospitals, Health Central Hospital and Dr. Phillips Hospital, both operated by Orlando Health, as well as urgent-care centers operated by Health Central and Florida Hospital. Orlando Health has opened an emergency room and medical pavilion on a 74-acre campus near S.R. 429 and Porter Road. Scheduled to open in early 2021 is a six-story, 214,000-squarefoot hospital with 103 inpatient beds as well as an on-site laboratory and outpatient imaging services. AdventHealth, which operates eight hospital campuses across Central Florida, opened its ninth in early 2016 across from Winter Garden Village, between Daniels Road and State Road 535. The 97,000-square-foot hospital features a state-of-the-art emergency department staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Other highlights include imaging equipment, lab facilities and an outpatient surgical center as well as rehabilitation and sports medicine services. And in May 2019, AdventHealth opened a 72,000-square-foot medical office building next to the hospital. “This building will allow

Orlando Health has opened an emergency room and medical pavilion on a 74-acre campus near S.R. 429 and New Independence Parkway. Opening in 2021 is a six-story, 214,000-square-foot hospital with 103 inpatient beds as well as an on-site laboratory and outpatient imaging services.

Horizon W est Update H 9


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us to further gather physicians of various specialties in one central location and offer even more outpatient services right here in West Orange,” said Amanda Maggard, campus CEO, in a news release. In addition to an expanding healthcare scene, educational opportunities are more abundant than ever in southwest Orange. The area is home to highly rated public and private elementary and secondary schools as well as Valencia College’s bustling 180acre West Campus. Valencia owns a parcel in the Horizon West Town Center for future expansion. Although Horizon West is served by many public schools, perhaps none was more needed than a high school. Windermere High School, with 2,205 students opened in 2017 at S.R. 535 and Ficquette Road. The 350,000-square-foot high school relieved crowding at West Orange High School, which had 4,100 students on a campus designed for just 3,000. Another high school is expected to open in 2021 on Seidel Road. Independence Elementary, on New Independence Parkway, opened in August 2015, while Sunset Park and Bay Lake elementary schools opened last year in the Lakeside Village area. Two additional elementary schools — Castleview and Water Spring — opened earlier this year along with Horizon West Middle School. In fact, the Orange County School District plans to open 19 new schools by 2028, seven of them in Horizon West.

TOWN AND COUNTRY

Southwest Orange County has always been both rural and urban. It’s wealthy and middle-class. It’s defined by internationally known attractions and picture-postcard small towns. It’s for-

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ward looking and steeped in history. And, of course, it’s dotted by shimmering lakes — more than 200 of them — along with pristine natural areas where wildlife still thrives. Today southwest Orange County is also a regional shopping and dining mecca. For example, Central Florida’s famed “Restaurant Row” stretches along Sand Lake Road near the upscale Mall at Millenia, with its world-class department stores — Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus — and premium boutiques. Southwest Orange County is also home to much of Walt Disney World, including the Magic Kingdom, Downtown Disney and Epcot as well as Disney’s resort properties and its four championship golf courses. Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando are also in southwest Orange, as are major shopping destinations such as the Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves and West Oaks Mall. The sector encompasses three incorporated areas: Winter Garden, Windermere and Oakland. Windermere proper is nestled on an isthmus between several lakes on the beautiful Butler Chain, which includes lakes Butler, Tibet, Down, Sheen, Louise and Chase as well as Pocket Lake, Lake Blanche, Wauseon Bay, Lake Isleworth and Little Fish Lake. Few areas of Central Florida are more beautiful and unspoiled than the parks and preservation areas found in southwest Orange County. The Tibet Butler Preserve, for example, contains more than four miles of interpretive hiking trails and elevated boardwalks radiating from the Vera Carter Environmental Center, which features wildlife exhibits and hosts a special environmental studies series for fifth graders. The Oakland Nature Preserve encompasses 128 acres of nat-


ural shoreline on Lake Apopka, Florida’s third-largest lake. The boardwalk to Lake Apopka is the centerpiece, offering dramatic views along the lakeshore. The preserve’s Green Trail is a loop off the boardwalk through a shady oak hammock, where you might see antelope or emus on an adjacent wildlife preserve. And its Uplands Trail is a network of short pathways through the sandhills that connect to the West Orange Trail.

EASY ACCESSIBILITY

Also key to the area’s appeal is its convenient transportation network. In addition to S.R. 429, which opened in 2005, interchanges and local roads have been completed to make getting in and out of Horizon West less daunting. The New Independence Parkway interchange (Exit 15) was created when New Independence Parkway was extended from S.R. 429 east for nearly a mile to Schoolhouse Pond Road, which leads to the community of Independence. (Today it is the main artery through the community’s 850-acre, mixed-use commercial hub, which includes several restaurants, a Publix grocery, a Walmart Supercenter and the Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas Hamlin.) A four-lane road, Hamlin Groves Trail, parallels S.R. 429. It originates at New Independence Parkway and runs south to Summerlake Park Boulevard, which leads to the community of Summerlake. These roads jump-started development of Hamlin, a major component of the 3,700-acre Horizon West Town Center, by creating easily accessible tracts for big-box commercial development. Nearing completion is a 1.5-mile extension of Hamlin Groves Trail that runs north and then east, where it wraps around the SportsPlex and connects to Tiny Road near the entrance to the community of Orchard Hills. Also nearing completion is Shoreside Way, which originates in the southwest quadrant of the interchange and runs east about a half-mile to Hamlin’s waterfront lifestyle center. About two miles to the south on S.R. 429, another interchange was opened at Schofield Road (Exit 13). That interchange, which marks the southern boundary of the Horizon West Town Center, is about six miles north of Western Way, which leads to the Magic Kingdom and Disney World. But the biggest transportation news impacting Horizon West is the announcement of Wellness Way, a western extension of New Independence Parkway through a vast undeveloped tract between the Horizon West Town Center and U.S. Highway 27 in Lake County. Boyd Development, the company behind Hamlin, is building the 5.5-mile-long road, which currently ends at Avalon Road west of S.R. 429. The company doesn’t own the land flanking the road, which will take three years and at least $15 million to build. But the road’s completion will enable other developers to potentially build at least 16,000 homes. That’s a lot of new customers for businesses in and around Hamlin — and an easy

way for them to get there. In all, about $30 million in road projects are under way in Horizon West. In short, Horizon West, in addition to being a self-contained community rich with its own amenities, has the added advantage of a location squarely in the center of Central Florida’s most dynamic and exciting region. 

IT TAKES A VILLAGE (OR SIX VILLAGES)

Horizon West’s master plan organizes each village around a village center and its larger neighborhoods around an elementary school. Here are the villages: • Lakeside Village: (5,202 acres, established in 1997): A variety of retail and restaurants can be found in Lakeside Village, located in the eastern part of Horizon West. The village includes the communities of Lakes of Windermere, Oasis Cove, Windermere Trails and Mabel Bridge. • Village of Bridgewater (4,223 acres, established in 1999): At the heart of the Village of Bridgewater, located in the northeast section of Horizon West, is the Summerport Village center, with an array of retail centers and restaurants. Bridgewater encompasses the neighborhoods of Summerport, Independence and Summerlake. • Town Center (3,624 acres, established in 2004): The heart of the Town Center, located in the west section of Horizon West, is Hamlin and its burgeoning Lakeside District. Eventually, the total Town Center will have nearly 2 million square feet of mixed-use commercial space. • Village F (2,551 acres, established in 2006): Although homes are underway, commercial development has not yet begun. Village F, located in the southeast section of Horizon West, will be home to a new high school and a village center developed by Compass Rose Corp. (a subsidiary of Walt Disney World Resort). A 75-bed assisted-living facility has been proposed. • Village H -Hickory Nut (2,975 acres, established in 2006): Village H, located in the southwest section of Horizon West, will be home to a future elementary school and middle school and encompasses the neighborhoods of Waterleigh and Story Grove. There’ll also be a village center, but specific plans haven’t been announced. • Village I -Southern Tip (2,129 acres, established in 2008): Village I is still wide-open spaces, but will eventually be developed. No specific plans have been announced, however.

Horizon W est Update H 1 1


PHOTO BY ART FAULKNER

Ken Kupp (above left) and Scott Boyd (above right) of Boyd Development are focused on making Hamlin a lively and inviting place. The success of Hamlin is one reason why southwest Orlando is the region’s fastest-growing sector. Boyd and Kupp, checking out the sleek lobby at Cinépolis Hamlin, are pleased — but not surprised — at the speed with which retail and commercial development is proceeding at Hamlin. A Walmart Supercenter and a Publix supermarket have also opened, as have dozens of retail shops and restaurants.

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LIFE IS SWEET HAMLIN HAS HOMES, BUSINESSES AND AN EMERGING LIFESTYLE CENTER THAT WILL BE A REGIONAL DESTINATION. by Randy Noles

T

he 950 acres comprising Hamlin, the vibrant heart of the 3,624-acre Horizon West Town Center, was a verdant, lake-dotted blank slate on which developer T. Scott Boyd could create a regional destination that would rival, for example, Winter Park. And he’s doing just that. Hamlin is rapidly morphing from an expanse of old groves — tangy Hamlin oranges were once grown there — into what will soon become a shopping and entertainment mecca to rival anything else in Central Florida. Not surprisingly, the homes there are selling as quickly as they can be built. Boyd and his team at Boyd Development Corp. are focused on making Hamlin a lively and inviting place, where residents will enjoy proximity to every imaginable amenity. Plus, they say, it’ll be a place where Central Floridians, regardless of where they live, will be eager to visit. How about a movie in a state-of-the-art movie theater, followed by a late-night dinner at a gourmet restaurant? Or window-shopping along a lively, tree-lined street bordered by intriguing boutiques? Or a leisurely stroll along a scenic boardwalk that hugs the shores of a pristine lake? Or a bracing jaunt through a series of beautifully landscaped parks linked by a pedestrian trail network? Then, when it’s time to call it a night, perhaps home is just minutes away in a brand-new lakefront neighborhood, where the top builders in the U.S. have pulled out all the stops with eye-popping designs and state-of-the-art technology.

“We want Hamlin to be a destination,” says Ken Kupp, a Boyd Development principal. “It’ll have an actively programmed town center, with 100 to 150 events a year. It’s a classic live/work/play community.” Valued at $1 billion, Hamlin was kick-started in 2014 when the New Independence Parkway interchange was opened off S.R. 429. New Independence Parkway was extended east for nearly a mile to Schoolhouse Pond Road, which leads to the community of Independence. A four-lane road, Hamlin Grove Trail, was built parallel to S.R. 429, and runs south from New Independence Parkway to Summerlake Park Boulevard, which leads to the community of Summerlake. Once the roads were in place, the pace quickened. Now open on the 64-acre northwest quadrant of the interchange is a 400,000-square-foot retail complex that includes a Horizon W est Update H 1 3


193,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter as well as about a half-dozen out-parcels with shops and restaurants. A second retail complex, this one 200,000 square feet, occupies the 66-acre southwest quadrant. It’s anchored by a 54,000-squarefoot Publix supermarket, which opened earlier this year. The southeast quadrant — the Lake District — encompasses a 40,000-square-foot, dine-in movie theater boasting 10 screens and stadium seating. Operated by Dallas-based Cinépolis USA, the complex offers perhaps the most luxurious moviegoing experience in the region. “Cinépolis Hamlin” is the brand’s seventh upscale dine-in movie theater in the U.S. and only its second in Florida (the other is in Jupiter). It features fully reclining leather seats, waiter service, gourmet dining and a full bar. Coming soon are some exciting fast-casual restaurants that are new to the market, including Ford’s Garage, a national gourmet-burger chain, and Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza, which specializes in house-made pastas, as well as pizzas, sandwiches and calzones baked in its 800-degree coal-fired ovens. British-themed pub and restaurant Yeoman’s Cask & Lion is also on the way. The Tampa-based eatery will dish up U.K. staples such as bangers and mash, fish and chips, and Shepherd’s pie as well as American classics such as Philly cheese steaks and macaroni and cheese. A longtime local favorite, Bosphorus, based in Winter Park and with locations in Lake Nona and Dr. Phillips, has opened a Hamlin location, offering its delicious Turkish cuisine to Horizon West residents. Also announced is A.G.’s Market, a food hall encompassing a variety of small eateries under one roof. The concept is comparable to Plant Street Market in Winter Garden or East End Market in Orlando. Boyd Development has moved to the Westside Shoppes, a 117-acre retail center at the corner of Winter Garden Vineland Road and Lakeside Village Lane. There are already seven buildings with 26 tenants — and no vacancies. Like much of the commercial architecture in Hamlin, the center’s look is sophisticated with a touch of industrial chic. Anchored by the theater is the jewel of Hamlin — a charming lifestyle center built around 28 acres surrounding Lake Hancock. There, visitors will enjoy an Old Florida ambience and plenty of inviting parks and public areas. There’ll also be events galore, such as music festivals and art shows. A recent health fair, Kupp said, attracted more than 2,000 people. “The opportunity to have access to Lake Hancock makes this a really special place,” adds Kupp. “There aren’t many opportunities like that left in Central Florida.” The lifestyle center will be packed with retail and dining options as well as a boardwalk and a small marina, so the area can be reached by boat. The boardwalk will link to a multiuse trail system — which will eventually be connected to the existing 22-mile West Orange Trail — and a lakefront park accessible by foot, bike or golf cart. East of the lifestyle district, an upscale 316-unit apartment complex dubbed LakeWalk at Hamlin, has been completed and H1 4 H o r izo n W e st U pdate

an additional 250-unit complex called The Lodge is being built. The apartments offer breathtaking views of Lake Hancock. Land is being cleared on the northwest quadrant — the last of the four quadrants on which development is getting underway. Coming soon are a variety of commercial projects, including a bank, an auto repair facility and fast-casual restaurants among other types of businesses. There are three active neighborhoods in Hamlin, including Wincey Groves at Hamlin by Dream Finders Homes (priced from the mid-$300s). Ashton Woods Homes is closing out Hamlin Reserve (priced from the high $300s) while Taylor Morrison is seeing strong sales activity at Overlook at Hamlin (priced from the high $500s). The company will soon launch Enclave at Hamlin and has already started an interest list. Orlando Health, which owns about 80 acres along the south side of Porter Road, has just opened an emergency room and a medical pavilion. Scheduled to open in 2021 is a six-story, 214,000-square-foot hospital with 103 inpatient beds as well as an on-site laboratory and outpatient imaging services. In addition, a new proton therapy center is under construction across New Independence Parkway from the LakeWalk apartment complex. The center is a joint venture between Knoxville, Tennessee-based Provision Healthcare and Hamlin Retail Partners West, an affiliate of Boyd Development and Schrimsher Properties. Proton therapy is a type of radiation treatment that uses protons rather than X-rays to treat the disease. The center, which started construction in the fourth quarter of 2018, will encompass three treatment rooms and use the latest proton systems technology of Provision Healthcare affiliate ProNova Solutions LLC. It’ll be able to treat an estimated 1,000 patients per year when it opens next year. There are fewer than 25 proton therapy centers operating in the U.S., including one at the UF Health Cancer Center-Orlando Health campus near downtown. In addition, the Provision Healthcare-Hamlin Retail Partners West joint venture also plans to develop related medical office buildings and cancer-treatment facilities around the center. “The Hamlin proton center will be a great addition to the medical community and a real benefit to the residents of Central Florida,” said Scott Boyd, president of Boyd Development, in a press release. “We look forward to Provision bringing their state-of-the-art technology, along with their culture of care, to our Central Florida community.” Elsewhere in Hamlin, Valencia College has 150 acres on Schofield Road and will likely build a branch campus, although specific plans haven’t been announced. Clearly, there’s a lot going on in Hamlin. Helping to guide the design process is Shook Kelley of Charlotte, North Carolina, a diversified urban planning firm that specializes in “perfecting a process for convening people around a physical place, space, idea, forum and experience.” “We have the ability to create a great plan and to execute it,” Boyd told Homebuyer: Central Florida Edition last year. “We can do something that will stand the test of time.” 


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HOMES INSPIRED BY YOU®. FIND YOUR “THAT’S ME” HOME, TODAY. *Limited time Zero Closing Cost Incentive (“Promotion”) available on new home contracts entered into as of 9/1-10/31/2019 (“Promotion Period”) on buyer’s purchase of select inventory homes that can close on or before 12/15/2019 in all Taylor Morrison Orlando-area communities. Buyer must pre-apply with Affiliated Lender before submitting offer to qualify for the promotion. Seller will pay all applicable Closing Costs at Closing, excluding discount points or pre-paid items, which contributions will vary depending on the eligible home selected and other restrictions described below, if qualified buyer utilizes Seller’s affiliated lender Taylor Morrison Home Funding, LLC, NMLS #149227 (“Affiliated Lender”) and the Title Company was selected only through Seller (“Preferred Title Company”). Zero Closing Cost Incentive not applicable outside of the Promotion Period or Orlando-area community. Zero Closing Cost Incentive may not be combined with any other offer, unless expressly set forth in Buyer’s Purchase Agreement Documents. Total closing cost contribution credited at closing and subject to Seller’s contribution limitations based on mortgage program and loan to value guidelines that are outside of Seller’s control. All loans are subject to underwriting and loan qualification of the lender. Services not available in all states. Rates, terms and conditions offered are subject to change without notice. Buyer is not required to finance through Affiliated Lender or to use such Title Company selected by Seller to purchase a home; however, buyer must use both such settlement services to receive the above or certain other Zero Closing Cost incentives. In the event Buyer applies for financing with any lender other than the Affiliated Lender, or Buyer selects in its election a company other than the Title Company selected by Seller, Seller shall not be obligated to pay any portion of Buyer’s closing costs notwithstanding that such financing is provided by the Affiliated Lender or that title insurance or closing services that are provided by the Title Company selected by Seller. For more information about Affiliated Lender, its licensing and other financing information, please visit taylormorrison.com/aba. All information (including, but not limited to prices, views, availability, school assignments and ratings, incentives, floor plans, site plans, features, standards and options, assessments and fees, planned amenities, programs, conceptual artists’ renderings and community development plans) is not guaranteed and remains subject to change or delay without notice. All eligibility decisions by Seller are final. Prices may not include lot premium, options and upgrades, depending on stage of construction. Offer void where prohibited or otherwise restricted by law. Please see a Taylor Morrison Community Sales Manager or your Internet Home Consultant and your purchase agreement for community specific details or visit www.taylormorrison.com for additional disclaimers. © September 2019, Taylor Morrison of Florida, Inc. CBC1257462, CBC1257822 and CBC1259191; Avatar Properties, Inc., d/b/a AV Homes CBC1254089; Royal Oak Homes, LLC CBC035126. All rights reserved. **Taylor Morrison received the highest numerical score in the proprietary Lifestory Research 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 America’s Most Trusted® Home Builder study. Your experiences may vary. Visit www.lifestoryresearch.com.

gorgeous bedrooms


Spanning more than 1,400 acres dotted by a dozen lakes and clear-water ponds, D.R. Horton’s Waterleigh is Horizon West’s largest community. It offers two well-equipped clubhouses and amenity centers.

H1 6 H o r izo n W e st U pdate


BUILD A FUTURE HORIZON WEST’S DOZENS OF NEIGHBORHOODS OFFER CHOICES GALORE FOR NEW-HOME BUYERS. by Randy Noles

I

n Central Florida, with its hundreds of bodies of water, most lakeview homesites have been built out for decades. To live on a natural lake in these parts, you’ve usually got to buy an older home — and in some cases, tear it down and rebuild — and settle in an older neighborhood. Horizon West has changed all that. With dozens of lakes and clear-water ponds, buyers have a choice of numerous lakefront homesites and state-of-the-art homes in brand-new, heavily amenitized neighborhoods.

Take Waterleigh, for example. Horizon West’s biggest community, by D.R. Horton (along with a subsidiary, Emerald Homes), could ultimately contain up to 3,600 homes. A community garden, mini-golf, a sports field and two resort-style clubhouse amenity centers provide a comforting and fun-filled community environment. The community’s 1,400-acre site is dotted with more than a dozen bodies of water, including Hickory Nut Lake. D.R. Horton’s homes, many of which have water views, range in size from 1,689 to 3,911 square feet and are priced from the mid-$200s to the mid-$400s. The company also offers townhomes priced from the mid-$200s. Emerald’s homes in Waterleigh are priced from the low $500s to the $600s. Also on Hickory Nut Lake is Overlook at Hamlin by Taylor Mor-

rison Homes. The community’s 381 homes are all within walking distance of Hamlin’s planned boardwalk and retail district. With floorplans ranging in size from 1,600 to more than 5,100 square feet, Overlook at Hamlin certainly offers something for everyone. Amenities include a clubhouse, a family pool, a splash park, a playground, an amphitheater and even a multipurpose sports lawn. Prices range from the high $500s to more than $1.4 million. Lennar Homes, under its CalAtlantic Homes banner, is building Waterside: The Landings, which boasts 34 homesites with private docks directly on Johns Lake. The company is also finding success in Waterside: The Strand, which features impressive luxury homes. Horizon W est Update H 1 7


Ashton Woods Homes’ Duval model at Latham Park (above left) features an owner’s suite with a spacious master bathroom (top). It ranges in size from 3,542 to 3,897 square feet and is priced from the $400s to the $800s. Amenities at Toll Brothers’ Lakeshore community, which is priced from the mid-$400s, include a 4,132 square-foot clubhouse with a resort-style swimming pool (above right), a state-of-the-art fitness center and a yoga room, beach volleyball courts, an outdoor fire pit, a kayak launch and much more — all overlooking two beautiful lakes.

In The Landings, homes range in size from 2,697 to 3,698 square feet and are priced from the high $400s. In The Strand, homes range in size from 4,154 to 5,124 square feet and are priced from the $700s to $1.4 million. Meritage Homes offers single-family and bungalow homes in its Watermark community. Bungalow homes range in size from 1,641 to 2,223 square feet and are priced from the low $300s. Single-family homes, which range in size from 2,080 to 4,535 square feet, are priced from the high $300s. Resort-style amenities in Watermark include a clubhouse and fitness center as well as parks, a playground, a swimming pool and tennis courts. There’s even a kids’ splash pad and an outdoor amphitheater. K. Hovnanian Homes has opened a new phase at The Highlands at Summerlake Groves with single-family homes priced from the mid-$400s. Amenities include tennis courts, a swimming pool and a tot lot. The company has also debuted Winding Bay, a community of single-family homes priced from the mid-$300s. Eight floorplans are offered with homes ranging in size from 2,156 to more than 4,000 square feet. Joining Winding Bay is Winding Bay Preserve, where townhomes are priced from the high $200s. Toll Brothers is building Lakeshore, a luxury community with an amenity center, neighborhood parks, and biking and H1 8 H o r izo n W e st U pdate

walking trails. There are two single-family home collections from which to choose, with prices starting in the mid-$400s. The company’s Royal Cypress Preserve offers nine different floorplans priced from the mid-$500s. Residents enjoy a private clubhouse, a resort-style swimming pool and a stateof-the-art fitness center as well as neighborhood parks and a picturesque dock for canoeing or kayaking. In its Hawkmoor community, Mattamy Homes offers both townhomes and single-family homes with unique architectural appointments inspired by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Townhomes, sized starting at 1,599 square feet, are priced from the high $200s. Single-family homes, which range in size from 1,682 to more than 4,000 square feet, are priced from the low $300s. Park Square Homes has brought its popular townhome and single-family home designs to Horizon West. In Ravenna, the company offers four townhome models priced from the mid$200s. Single-family homes are priced from the mid-$400s in the community, which features a pool and cabana. Jones Homes will soon open Avalon Cove, a lakefront community nestled between Hickory Nut Lake and Avalon Road. An interest list is being compiled, or you can get more information by visiting the company’s Stanton Estates community in downtown Winter Garden. 


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Pictures, photographs, colors, features, and sizes are for illustration purposes only and will vary from the homes as built. Home and community information including pricing, included features, terms, availability and amenities are subject to change and prior sale at any time without notice or obligation. This material shall not constitute a valid offer in any state where prior registration is required or if void by law. See sales counselor for details. CRC 1330351 CGC 1520474


Plant Street Market (above) encompasses more than 20 merchants and houses a microbrewery. The project, which opened last year, further solidified Winter Garden’s reputation as a foodie mecca. Winter Garden’s vibrant Downtown Historic District (below) combines all the charm of a vintage Florida citrus community with trendy restaurants and boutiques. Now “the charming little town with the juicy past” is looking toward even more improvements.


RETRO CHIC ONCE A QUIET FARM TOWN, FUN AND FUNKY WINTER GARDEN IS NOW AN EMBRACEABLE HIPSTER HAVEN. by Randy Noles

W

inter Garden, dubbed “the charming little town with a juicy past,” honors its agricultural heritage. But it’s also strengthening its position as a magnet for those whose only interest in citrus is sipping it with their morning croissants. Indeed, a generation ago it would have been hard to imagine this isolated farming community, which encompassed eight citrus packing plants, as the alluring hipster mecca it has become. But with Horizon West booming and southwest Orange County emerging as the fastest-growing sector in the region, the bustling city of more than 45,000 residents is stepping up its game even further.

Today, Winter Garden is best known for its vibrant Downtown Historic District, one of the most interesting and picturesque of any in the region. The district, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996, encompasses about 100 acres bounded by Woodland, Tremaine, Henderson and Lake View streets. West Plant Street, the city’s lively main drag, has emerged as one of the most desirable destinations in Central Florida for dining, shopping and strolling. “Downtown Winter Garden is everybody’s downtown,” says Stina D’Uva, president and CEO of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, who believes that Horizon West’s growth can only benefit the city. “There’s such

great synergy there.” Residents of Horizon West, of course, will enjoy their own Village Centers and a major Town Center at which Hamlin is the heart. But refreshingly retro Winter Garden offers a decidedly different diversion for area newcomers. The neighboring cities of Winter Garden  and Ocoee have joined forces to develop an economic corridor linking their downtowns, seeking to transform a forlorn 6-mile stretch of roadway lined by old warehouses and automobile repair shops into complementary city gateways at the S.R. 429 interchange. Revitalizing the road, named East Plant Street in Winter Garden and West Franklin Street in Ocoee, was the subject of an Horizon W est Update H 2 1


The Central Florida Railroad Museum, located in the old Tavares & Gulf Railroad Depot, is one of two museums operated by the city’s Heritage Foundation.

economic study partly funded with a $100,000 state grant. “We envision a total redevelopment all the way out to the beltway and beyond,” says City Manager Mike Bollhoefer. Part of that development includes The Heritage at Plant Street, an M/I Homes community of single-family homes and townhomes on East Plant Street. The effort to upgrade that once-neglected stretch of road comes on the heels of even more activity on already-thriving West Plant Street. Plant Street Market, which encompasses more than 20 merchants including the popular Crooked Can microbrewery, opened in 2014 on the site of a demolished apartment complex. The market contains farm-to-table restaurants, a bakery, a butcher, a chocolatier, a wine bar and various sellers of artisanal food items. The $2 million project extended downtown’s footprint beyond City Hall and further solidified Winter Garden’s reputation as a foodie mecca. The concept is similar to that behind the wildly successful East End Market in Orlando’s Audubon Park neighborhood. There’s a satisfying full-circle feel to Winter Garden’s continued association with food. The city’s earliest settlers were primarily farmers, and not just of citrus. A year-round growing season, fertile soil and easy access to railroads serving Northern markets meant that agriculture of all varieties flourished. Later, as Central Florida’s economy became more dependent upon tourism, the city’s proximity to Walt Disney World and other attractions provided another economic shot in the arm. But it’s fair to say that Winter Garden didn’t really come into its own until the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy was established in 1986. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit worked with local governments around the country to convert abandoned rail beds into trails for walking, hiking and biking. One result of that effort was the popular West Orange Trail, a 22-mile route that rambles right through the middle of Plant Street. In fact, the Winter Garden Station quickly emerged as a favorite stop for thousands of trail users every month. H2 2 H o r izo n W e st U pdate

Local boosters and businesspeople were happy to welcome the visitors, many of whom had never been to Winter Garden and were delighted by its picture-postcard ambience and its neighborly attitude. Today, about 1.3 million people annually visit downtown Winter Garden. And there’s plenty to do and see. The lovingly restored Garden Theatre, a circa-1930s movie house, is in the heart of the Historic District. Now a performingarts center, it hosts live theater, dance and musical programs as well as the annual Starlight Film Festival, which celebrates inventive, micro-budget productions. In addition, the city partnered with the Winter Garden Arts Association to convert the old Boyd Street Fire Station into a hub for visual art that now houses a gallery and a teaching facility. It’s the first step toward creation of an Art and Design District, which will offer artists both living space and studio space. And, of course, there’s eating. At the critically acclaimed Chef’s Table at the Edgewater Hotel, you can savor the likes of foie gras, terrine with oven-toasted brioche and apricot balsamic gastrique. Then there’s the fire-grilled filet with celery root and potato purée at Thai Blossom, the seared tuna and homemade soup at the Moon Cricket Grille, and what’s been touted by various critics as some of the best pizza in Central Florida at familyowned Winter Garden Pizza Company. Sure, it’s all very hip — except when it isn’t. Need to stock up on insecticides? Get a bottle of tail-and-mane shampoo for your horses or a 50-pound bag of feed for your catfish farm? Try Winter Garden Feed Company, which changed its name and moved from downtown Winter Garden to West Colonial Drive. And the city’s Heritage Foundation operates two museums: the Winter Garden Heritage Museum, located in the old Atlantic Coast Line Depot, and the Central Florida Railroad Museum, located in the old Tavares & Gulf Railroad Depot. Both museums offer free admission. The Winter Garden Farmers Market — here we go with food again — won an “America’s Favorite” award from America’s Farmland Trust a couple of years back. It’s held every Saturday and features locally grown produce, fresh flowers, baked goods and even live entertainment. 

HOME CENTRAL FLORIDA EDITION

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Homebuyer: Central Florida Edition, publisher of Horizon West Update, is an award-winning new-home publication from Winter Park Publishing Company LLC. The company also publishes real estate maps and maintains a comprehensive database of new homes at its website, thefloridahomebuyer.com. For more information call 407-448-8414. MICK LOCHRIDGE Editor

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ART FAULKNER Contributing Photographer ON THE COVER: The lifestyle center on Lake Hancock at Hamlin.


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Horizon West Update 2019  

Horizon West Update 2019