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ORLANDO-The condo craze in Central Florida continues as developers find strategically located sites for new projects, even as an estimated 10,000 condominiums are either completed or planned in the metro over the next two years. The newest player is DeBartolo Development LLC, which recently moved its corporate headquarters to Tampa from Youngstown, OH.

Chaired by Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., son of the late shopping center developer, Edward J. DeBartolo Sr., the company is partnering with Orlando-based Avalon Park Associates, headed by developer Beat Kahli, a former Swiss banker. The joint venture plans to build 1,000 condo units along Avalon Park Boulevard in the East Orange County community of Avalon Park. Groundbreaking is scheduled for summer 2005. The project is expected to take three to five years to build out.

The developers are placing an estimated $200-million tag on the venture. That number equates to a hard construction cost of $200,000 per unit, area brokers point out. Projected retail prices of the condos are still being determined.

For Avalon Park, a five-year-old community with 8,000 permanent residents located off South Alafaya Trail, the condo venture comes as the centerpiece in an ongoing multi-million-dollar development program.

Other projects under way are the $220-million Northwest Village section of Avalon Park with 880 single-family house lots; the 130,000-sf expanded town center scheduled for completion in summer 2005; and the development of a 150,000-sf office building. Avalon Park is planned for 4,000 homes and a permanent population of 15,000.

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