Yet another deal is in the works between Walt Disney Co. Central Florida's biggest employer and Lake Nona developer Tavistock.
Burbank, California-based Disney (NYSE: DIS) is in talks with Tavistock Development Co. to develop an age-restricted community as part of the roughly 27,000-acre Sunbridge development near southeast Orlando's Lake Nona community, Orlando Business Journal has learned.
More details on the size, scope and construction timeline for Disney and Tavistock's age-restricted community wasn't known. Representatives with Disney and Tavistock weren't available for comment.
The talks come on the heels of Disney's revelation on July 15th that it would relocate 2,000 jobs to Lake Nona as part of an $864 million investment.
The planned new community would be like a smaller version of The Villages, a huge age-restricted community northwest of Orlando, sources told OBJ.
It's no surprise that Disney would be interested in an age-restricted concept. After all, The Villages was the third-fastest growing area in the U.S. for housing units in the past decade and is the second most popular master-planned community so far this year in terms of home sales.
More on Sunbridge
That said, the Sunbridge community, which is in Orange and Osceola counties, has room to grow. Sunbridge can support a combined 22,700 single-family homes, 13,990 apartments, 6,000 hotel rooms along with more than 11 million square feet of office space and 3.9 million square feet of industrial space among other uses.
The multi-decade development already features Del Webb Sunbridge, a 55-plus active-adult neighborhood on 700 acres near Narcoossee Road on the south side of Cyrils Drive, which opened in summer 2020.
Meanwhile, the 575-home Weslyn Park north of Cyrils Drive is expected to open in Sunbridge this year along with Basecamp, an information center and activity hub.
Why Disney is interested
Real estate experts agreed that the age-restricted community development may be a boon for Disney.
Consider: Demand for local senior care housing and services is forecast to boom in the next decade. Orlando is expected to reach about 1 million people age 65 and older between 2025-2030, for the first time outnumbering the younger demographic of those up to age 17, as previously reported by the Orlando Business Journal. That means more elder services will be needed in Central Florida by 2030, including independent-living communities, memory-care and skilled nursing homes, as well as developments that cater to active seniors.
"Everyone talks about the silver tsunami. It's absolutely coming," said Trey Vick, CEO of Apopka-based Strive Senior Living LLC, who is not involved in the project.
Meanwhile, Disney's brand appeals across generations, and Walt Disney World is a draw for residents of The Villages, which is less than a two-hour drive from the theme parks.
That's according to Bree Tucker, an agent and partner of Orlando-based real estate firm The Pozek Group. Tucker is involved in The Villages residential deals and knows interested buyers want to be near Walt Disney World due to personal interest and for visiting family members.
However, one of the biggest advantages of Sunbridge's location is its proximity to Orlando International Airport, Tucker said. She said the distance from a major airport is a drawback for Villages residents who hail from across the U.S. and the world.
"Being near an airport would be a huge draw for people in the Sunbridge community."
By Jack Witthaus – Staff Writer, Orlando Business Journal
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