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ORLANDO-Hoping to slow commercial/residential development east of Walt Disney World, Osceola County commissioners have convinced the Partin ranching family to hold off on a contract with a local undisclosed developer on a 1,600-acre, $25 million deal. The county wants to buy the land itself for conservational and public recreational uses.

The deal is expected to close by year end. The county is banking on state agency grants to help pay for the acquisition which equates to $15,625 per acre or 36 cents per sf.

“It’s no bargain price but it’s not over market, either,” an Orlando land broker tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

By buying the 1,600 acres, Osceola County would also be providing a buffer to any expansion plans the Seminole Tribe of Florida might have for the 1,100 acres the tribe bought from the Partin family in 2001 for $28.7 million or $28,091 per acre (60 cents per sf).

The Seminoles have denied they are planning to develop a gambling casino on the property, a move that would be contested by both the county and the state.

The 1,600 acres the county wants to buy runs from Neptune Road south to the shores of Lake Tohopekaliga. Besides conservation and recreation, the county would use the dirt for water retention and as a land mitigation bank for developers, county staffers tell GlobeSt.com.

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