Catholic retreat sells for $26.3 million to Oviedo home builder

UPDATE (5:30 P.M.) – Richard Jerman, a co-manager of the Sun Terra Communities LLC portfolio, says the company plans to “substantially reduce the intensity” of the project when it submits its preliminary plans to Seminole County within the next month. (see update near end of story)

One of the largest pieces of undeveloped property in South Seminole County sold last week for nearly $26.3 million to an residential home builder.

The Diocese of Orlando sold 335 acres of its 468-acre San Pedro Center to Oviedo-based Sun Terra Communities LLC and it’s New York equity partner Jen Partners LLC.

According to Seminole County records, the property closed March 8, for a sale price of $26.26 million. The property is located between Casselberry, Winter Springs and  Oviedo on the north side of Howell Branch Road, east of State Road 436.

San Pedro mapThe property is approved for 900 residential units (198 single-family homes and 702 apartments) as an age-restricted (55 and older) community. The property is also entitled for a 450-bed assisted-living facility, a 150-bed skilled nursing center, a 110-room hotel, and 225,000 square feet of commercial space.

In 2014, the diocese asked Seminole County to remove the age restrictions on the planned development, but county commissioners rejected the request after nearby residents spoke out against the change.

Jerman said he will begin meeting with those neighbors as early as Tuesday.

“We’re going to be meeting with the neighbors in the next week to get their input and share our thoughts,” Jerman said, adding that notices about the meeting are being mailed to the neighbors.

Jerman said it’s too early to estimate how many homes would be built.

“After we meet with the neighbors and move through the planning process, we’ll have a better idea. We plan to change the focus of what’s previously been approved,” Jerman said.

The diocese bought the property in the 1950s and has used it as a retreat for parishioners. The San Pedro Center currently has dormitories, a chapel, support facilities and a cemetery for priests. The diocese will continue to own those facilities and about 133 acres.

Officials from the diocese could not be reached for comment prior to publication.