The California-based builder bought a former bankrupt Levitt Cascades community near Orlando in Groveland, Fla., from Bank of America for $5.3 million, according to sources.
Shea would not comment on the purchase other than verifying that it had occurred. It is not clear whether Shea will continue to build out Cascades of Groveland as an active-adult community or whether it will re-brand it under its Trinity brand.
The Cascades of Groveland is partially developed with 283 homes built and sold out of the 999 for which the community is zoned. In the purchase, Shea received 345 developed home sites in the first three phases of the community, eight furnished models, two completed spec houses, 12 homes in various stages of construction, and four slabs. It also bought the development’s fourth and fifth phases, which are undeveloped, with potential zoning for another 390 homes.
Excluding the models, spec homes, and houses under construction, the purchase price roughly equals $8,346 per lot. Given the market in that area, it will take a low land price to make the numbers work in the Lake County community. It’s roughly halfway between Orlando and a cluster of active-adult communities in the Leesburg area, which includes the well-known The Villages development. With all that competition in the relatively far-flung market, there is no shortage of new homes priced at much less than $100 a square foot.
Shea has been successfully selling homes in the Victoria Gardens section of Victoria Park, a St. Joe Co. development between Orlando and Daytona Beach for three years. Homes there start at $178,990 for 1,409 square feet and climb to a starting price of $326,990 for 2,618 square feet. But that development is nearing buildout.
Levitt’s other active-adult communities have already been sold off. Last September, Avatar bought a section of Levitt’s Traditions development in St. Lucie County, Fla. It spent $7.3 million for 87 completed and partially completed homes, 267 developed lots, 364 partially developed lots, and roughly 400 undeveloped master-planned lots.
Medallion, a local private builder, bought the Levitt Cascades Sarasota project for $3 million, and York Capital Group, a private equity investor, paid $6 million for Levitt lots in World of Golf Village near St. Augustine, Fla.
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for BUILDER and BIG BUILDER magazines.