In April 2018, after 20 years of work, CFCAR Member Brad Parker realized the completion of the sale of 1,300 acres of land in Lake County. The broker-salesperson with Southern Realty Enterprises was able to close a $75 million dollar deal that will result in a heavy western expansion in Lake County.
The massive deal known as “The Hills of Mineola” closed and development of once agricultural land began a transformation that will go on for the next 10 to 15 years.
The buyer, JEN Partners, purchased the land and it was recorded April 17, 2018 under JEN FL 30 LLC, from a family whose patriarch had assembled the land decades earlier. The Legal Description covered 11 pages in the deed.
JEN Partners is now working on the construction plans for almost 400 new homes approved under phase I last year and a 297-unit apartment complex approved in 2017. Preliminary approval of another 1,700 homes is expected early this year. A developer is also working on plans for the first cluster of businesses in the project’s commercially-zoned area, which includes one large anchor store and four to five outparcels.
City planners said the actual development was approved by the county about 15 years ago, then by city officials after it was annexed into Minneola years later.
Since then, it remained dormant awaiting the completion of the Florida Turnpike Interchange, which opened in May of 2016.
“The land was mostly timber,” Parker explained, “and until the interchange opened, it was hard to get it across the finish line,”
Brad Parker explains that upon completion over the next 10 to 15 years, the Hills of Minneola will bring in up to 4,170 new residences, more than 900,000 square feet of retail or commercial services, 892,500 square feet of office space, 1,470,000 square feet of space for industrial, a hospital, a hotel, medical and research, about 520,000 square feet for a new school and other institutional development, a large park, loads of green space and a site for recreational uses still to be determined.
It has also spurred the construction of new roads, including Citrus Grove that will provide a direct connection between U.S. Highway 27 and Hancock Road. City Manager Mark Johnson said the project will provide a larger tax base for the city and a reduced tax burden for property owners, and it will boost property values of existing homes in the area while creating hundreds of high-wage jobs.
“I literally began working on this 20 years ago. I had so much time invested, I just wanted to finish the work,” Parker explained. “I love working with land, it’s the basis for all construction, the foundation of everything we do in the development side,” he added. “So, working on such a large parcel of land was fascinating and challenging.”
Parker shared that the land owner, F. Browne Gregg, died in late 2014, at the age of 92 and yet Parker continued the mission of selling the land while representing Gregg’s family.
But it wasn’t quite the same. Gregg was a World War II hero, who was promoted to Captain in 1945 after receiving the Silver Star, five additional air medals and accumulating over 37 missions. Later, Gregg’s love for engineering and construction lead him to become one of Lake County’s most recognized entrepreneurs. He built Florida Crushed Stone Company into a large corporation that included business segments in aggregates, cement, lime as well a power plant.
Recognizing that this transaction demonstrates the greatest degree of experience and dedication, complexity and/or perseverance, Brad Parker was selected as the recipient for CFCAR's Deal of the Year.