Exclusive: New 2,900-home ‘agrihood’ planned near UCF

An Orlando developer is taking the sustainable farm-to-table movement to the extreme with plans for a new 1,237-acre mixed-use development near the University of Central Florida.

Dwight Saathoff’s related Project Finance & Development LLC announced plans to start construction in 2016 on a new 2,900-home working farm community, known as an “agrihood,” between Lake Pickett Road and Colonial Drive in east Orange County.

The project, which will be centered around a 9-acre revenue-generating farm, with single-family homes, 17 acres of community gardens, edible walking trails, scenic pastoral spaces, fishing ponds, an equestrian center, neighborhood parks and elementary school around Lake Tanner, said a news release. It also will be designed to be bike- and pedestrian-friendly, with 7 percent less pavement to reduce vehicle use and instead encourage walking or biking.

Amenities will include a central gathering area in and around an authentic barn for social events, farmer’s market, restaurant serving food grown in the community and shops.

“This is a unique opportunity for our company to introduce Orlando to a new residential concept where the emphasis is on sustainable living by integrating farming into neighborhoods,” said Saathoff, president of Project Finance & Development, in a prepared statement. “It will be a landmark community in Central Florida influenced by past generations when people lived off the land growing their own foods and sharing with neighbors. There will be a nostalgic atmosphere throughout the community from the overall aesthetics of the development to the social aspects and outdoor activities.”

This project adds to plans for a neighboring mixed-use development by Fort Myers-based Lake Pickett North LLC at the 1,435-acre, 100-year-old Rybolt Ranch, as previously reported by Orlando Business Journal. Plans for that development include nearly 2,000 homes and 100,000 square feet of “neighborhood supporting” commercial space.

Meanwhile, Saathoff also is involved in a project in tandem with Orlando-based Unicorp National Developments Inc. on the other side of town. Saathoff and Unicorp plan to build 600 single-family homes and a $50 million, 300-unit apartment complex next to the Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Ruby Lake, as OBJ reported last year.

April 15, 2015
Anjali Fluker
Senior Staff Writer
Orlando Business Journal