X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

CLERMONT, FL-Sugarloaf Mountain, one of the oldest and most controversial planned mixed-use ventures in Central Florida, is back on the table as landowners Willoughyby T. Cox and Karick Price prepare to meet in January with Tampa investor John Reaves to map the project’s first development stage since it was conceived 10 years ago.

In the controversy’s newest wrinkle, Lake County commissioners have decided not to appeal Gov. Jeb Bush’s Oct. 31 decision. That ruling gives the landowners another five years to develop the enterprise, either with Reaves or another third party. The previous five-year development deadline expired this year.

Reaves, a former quarterback at the University of Florida and later with the Tampa Bay Bandits in the defunct United States Football League (1985), has contracted to buy the 1,433 acres from Cox and Price at an undisclosed sum. A development strategy by Reaves and his associates was awaiting the county’s appeal decision. That hurdle has now been passed.

The planned $1.2 billion venture is in a high-profile public recreation area in south Lake County, 30 miles west of Downtown Orlando. At 355 feet high, the tract is the tallest pile of dirt in Central Florida. Environmentalists have fought the venture since 1992.

Lake County land brokers familiar with the Sugarloaf Mountain area, which once housed profitable citrus groves, tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity the Reaves contract is for at least $20,000 per acre or a total $29 million.

The Florida Public Land Trust, a conservation group, appraised the land three years ago for about $7 milion or $4,885 per acre (11 cents per sf). Area brokers largely discount that appraisal as being unrealistic in today’s booming industrial marketplace.

South Lake activist groups now are talking about offering Cox and Price $11.5 million or $8,025 per acre (18 cents per sf) if the landowners will break their contract with Reaves. GlobeSt.com couldn’t reach Willoughby, Price or Reaves at publication deadline for comment on their next development strategy.

The county’s strategy, however, is clear. Commissioners will try to soft-peddle their desires to have Cox and Price reduce the number of planned single-family and multifamily units, already approved by the state, to about 700 from the original 2,434 units.

That action, however, is hardly realistic or profitable from the property owners’ viewpoint, brokers intimate with the developers’ desires tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

“These people (Cox and Price) have put considerable time and money into this venture and they at least want to come out of it with something to show for their efforts,” an Orange County real estate lawyer not associated with the Sugarloaf project tells GlobeSt.com condition of anonymity.

Besides the shelter component of the project, Cox and Price had also planned 175 condominium units and two 18-hole championship golf courses. Orlando golfer Arnold Palmer has contracted with Reaves to build the courses at an undisclosed development cost.

Sugarloaf Mountain overlooks Lake Apopka between County Road 561 and County Road 455, near Clermont and Montverde, FL.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 3 free articles* across the ALM subscription network every 30 days
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

GlobeSt. Apartments 2020Event

Join 1000+ of the industry's top owners, investors, developers, brokers & financiers at THE MULTIFAMILY EVENT OF THE YEAR!

Get More Information
 

GlobeSt

Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.