Tavistock's Role in Developing Rural Florida
Part 3: The Developer
When Deseret Ranch began its planning process, Osceola County was so willing to accommodate the ranch that it signed on as a co-applicant on the largest of Deseret’s two plans.
County leaders have pushed hard for a new toll beltway that would also serve as the first piece of the broad highway network serving Deseret and the rest of the region. Osceola officials believe the road will stimulate new development.
Osceola has also invested more than $200 million in money and land for a research-and-development center called BRIDG that could be used to manufacture prototypes for the next generation of electronic sensors — and entice high-tech companies to locate in a surrounding county-owned research park, called NeoCity. The project is as much a housing play as it is a jobs play.
Orange County wasn’t interested in participating when Deseret Ranch began to plan for its development, but the relationship between county and ranch has since warmed, says Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. Central Florida’s largest government has become broadly supportive of the Sunbridge project, for instance, agreeing to a deal in which Tavistock will build a four-lane arterial road for the project in exchange for impact-fee credits. Jacobs, who has traveled to Utah to meet with church leaders, credits Orlando personal injury attorney Rulon Munns, who is Mormon, with helping to bring the two sides together. But the county still isn’t ready to endorse a sector plan with Deseret on the 70,000 acres it owns east of Sunbridge. “It’s not ripe yet,” Jacobs says.
Deseret is unlikely to develop its Brevard property because of its value as farmland. But county leaders are excited about the ranch’s plans, says Curt Smith, chairman of the Brevard County Commission. In particular, Smith says a new east-west expressway would help by giving his county a more direct connection to Orlando International Airport — and by adding another way out in case of a hurricane evacuation.
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