The Rialto

ORLANDO—Wood Partners has started construction on a 200-unit multifamily community located in one of Orlando’s hottest neighborhoods. The Rialto is under development on a 5.95-acre site on Spring Lake at the entrance of Doctor Phillips.

Located at the northwest corner of Sand Lake Road and Turkey Lake Road in southwest Orlando, The Rialto is a quarter of a mile from Interstate 4 and three miles from Walt Disney World. Wood expects the multifamily development to open its doors to renters in July 2014.

“The site is well served by major transportation routes, major employers, area schools, retail stores and other support services,” says David Thompson, director for Wood Partners in Florida. “The proximity to excellent retail, prestigious Doctor Phillips address, outstanding lake views and superior school district distinguish the project from competitive offerings.”

The five-story, urban-style community will include more than 17,000 square feet of retail space, owned by The Wilder Companies. Three hundred ninety-nine parking spaces will be available in the integrated parking garage, in addition to 59 spaces for retail and five spaces for the leasing office.

“Demand for rental housing continues to increase,” Jack McCabe, president of McCabe Research, tells Globe.St.com. “The homebuyer-to-renter ratio peaked in 2007 when over 70% of Florida residents were buying. At the end of 2012, only 62% were buyers while 38% are now renting, a trend I expect will continue for several years.”

Indeed, construction of The Rialto is expected to coincide with strong market demand.  Employment growth for the Orlando metro area is anticipated to be the second highest in the state through 2014, based on forecasts by the Institute of for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida.

“The extremely high foreclosure rate in Florida has driven more people into rental demand, along with a growing segment that could buy but are now renting by choice,” McCabe says. “With growing demand, and only a few new projects built since 2007, apartment development and construction financing are back in full swing in the Sunshine State.”

The Rialto, which will neighbor the Bay Hill and Isleworth communities, will be within 10 minutes of major employment hubs at Walt Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studies, and the Orange County Convention Center. The site, with 350 feet of frontage on Sand Lake Road and 750 feet of frontage on Spring Lake, is in the middle of the premier dining and shopping offerings in Doctor Phillips.

“The excellent location and Wood Partners’ reputation for constructing desirable apartment product should bode well for future rental rate increases while maintaining high occupancy for this new apartment community when completed,” McCabe says. Real Estate Capital Partners is Wood Partners’ equity partner in the project. The lender is Synovus Bank.

Over its 19-month construction period, the project is expected to generate more than $20 million in local income, about $1.9 million in local taxes and government revenue, and more than 244 jobs. The additional, annually recurring impacts of building 200 rental apartments in a typical metro area include $4.6 million in local income, $790,000 in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 64 jobs, according to estimates by the National Association of Home Builders.