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New 10-home subdivision coming to the north island


In recent weeks, a bulldozer’s roar, a construction truck dumping fill and a new real estate sign promoting home lots have signaled that a long-dormant subdivision is springing back to life along A1A on the north end of the island.

The Reserve at Pelican Island will offer 10 one- and two-story custom homes on approximately quarter-acre lots priced between $500,000 and $1 million. Foundation work is underway for the first home, which is scheduled for completion in late summer or early fall.

The 3.71 acre site opposite the Seaview subdivision is unique because the property juts into the Pelican Island wildlife sanctuary – the first national wildlife refuge in the country founded in 1903 to protect exotic birds that were being slaughtered wholesale for feathers to adorn women’s hats.

Before Indian River County first approved the subdivision in 2005, county planners urged the developers to sell the land to the federal government to square off the border of the refuge, but they declined.

Their plan for the project turned heads because it included luxury houses that would include unusual amenities such as rooftop pools, but they subsequently disappeared from the local scene during the downturn and the property has been dormant for more than a decade.

The new developer, Poinciana Residential of Cocoa, bought the subdivision from Bancshares Realty LLC, an affiliate of PNC Bank, which held the mortgage on the land and foreclosed on it after the original developers’ project faltered.

Poinciana paid $800,000 for the property in June 2016 and is working with Orlando builder Mark Ezzard of Southcrest Homes to complete the project. A PNC Bank customer, Ezzard said he found out about the foreclosed site when it was brought to his attention by the Bank.

“It’s a great little spot. I thought the location was outstanding, and $800,000 was a good price for the land. We are excited about the project. It’s very nice, the way it backs up to the reserve.”

The first signal the subdivision was back in action came only three weeks ago, when Ezzard put up a real estate sign at the property to notify the public that lots and houses are for sale there

Ezzard said the houses he has in mind won’t be as extravagant as the ones pitched by the previous developers.

“There will be no pools on the roof,” Ezzard said. “We’re not going to do that.”

Instead, he anticipates custom-built houses that will range in size from about 2,000 square feet to 4,000 square feet, with selling prices from $500,000 to $1 million.

Ezzard said he has a county permit to the build the first house on a lot where a bulldozer has cleared the scrub and a truck has dumped fill. It will be a 2,517-square-foot single-story home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms that Ezzard hopes will sell for about $750,000. It should be completed in August or September, he said.

The subdivision already has water and sewer lines, a lift station and transformer boxes to supply power to each of the 10 lots, infrastructure left over from the original development. Ezzard said he has had an electrician look over the electrical components to comply with a county request and make sure they are still in good shape. 

A conservation easement behind the subdivision will remain in place. The wildlife preserve agreed to allow a drainage swale on its property in return for the builder not cutting down trees on the rear sections of four lots, Ezzard said.

“They’d rather have the easement on their land and save the trees,” the Ezzard said. “We want to play off the preserve and give it a nice look back there.”

Ezzard said about half of the 10 lots will have two-story houses with central courtyards. The others will be single-story. The architect is Digital Design of Mims, Florida. 

He said he has discussed the already-approved subdivision with county planning officials and is ready to roll. “It’s been sitting there, so everyone had to get back up to speed on it,” Ezzard said.