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ORLANDO-Coral Gables-based Cornerstone Group has opened a regional office in Central Florida to manage the development and sales of several recently launched projects. The company is targeting Central Florida because of signs of continued growth.

“The area has been a magnet for newcomers due to its favorable living conditions,” says Mike Brinegar, who is heading Cornerstone’s Central Florida Townhome Division. “In the past decade, city planners have done a fabulous job in diversifying the local economy, encouraging expansion of many businesses that are not strictly tourist-based.”

The Orlando projects include Regent Park, a 202-unit project at 14 South Dean Rd. near 408 East/West Expressway and 417Greenway. Prices for units start at $183,900. The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter 2008. A second project, the 216-unit Solaris at Metro West at 6007 Raleigh St., features single-story flats and three-story townhomes with prices starting in the mid-$200,000s. The project is expected to break ground in a month with completion anticipated in 18 months, Brinegar tells GlobeSt.com.

The company’s first condominium conversion project in Orlando is Lexington Place, 259-unit Victorian-style community at 11500 Westwood Blvd. with units ranging from $179,500 to $254,000. The company is also developing CityView, a 138-unit townhome community at 4821 Bristol Bay Way. The project will comprise 17 two-story buildings with prices starting in the $170,000s. The project broke ground four months ago with completion anticipated in 18 months. “We like Central Florida because there’s a lot of employment growth and the economy is very strong,” Brinegar says. “The projections are for continued growth in that area.” <p"The economics of building apartment communities in our South Florida markets are extremely challenging because of rising land prices, escalating construction costs and increased government regulations," says the Cornerstone Group president Leon Wolfe. "We have built a solid foundation in South Florida in several areas so we are marshaling our experience in development and leveraging our economies of scale to bring town home communities to those currently priced our of the market as well as the work force in the middle of the state."

The company also has townhome projects in Palm Beach County including Mediterranea, Marsh Harbour and Sonoma Bay in Riviera Beach; Preserve at Tequesta and Preserve at Boynton Beach.

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