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More Than 15,660 New Homes Approved By Lake Wales City Commissioners, Expected to Host 42,000 New Residents

Growth Rapidly Pushing to South and East

A population boom is expected in Lake Wales in coming months and years as design work or construction is advancing for at least 40 projects within the city limits, in addition to others outside the city.

A calculation shows a total of more than 15,660 new residential units have already met some level of approval by the city commission, with many having already received final plat approval for construction, even as other projects are nearing completion.

If they conform with the Polk County average occupancy of 2.73 persons per household, they will bring an additional 42,750 residents to Lake Wales. School classroom space, transportation improvements, and future water supplies are all expected to be challenged by the growth. The topic has been raised repeatedly at forums by candidates in the April 2 city election.

A significant percentage of new developments are located in the southern and eastern sections of the city, where large annexations have taken place.

The wave of development has continued south and east, sparking the construction of new subdivisions outside the city near Crooked Lake and Lake Pierce as well, shifting the area's population center rapidly in that direction.

City commissioners have generally welcomed the development, with most projects sailing through the approval process. To cope with the growth, a pending plan called Lake Wales Envisioned would raise standards for developers, requiring "Traditional Neighborhood Design" over sprawling walled subdivisions. The plan requires some 20 steps that must be adopted by the commission. None have been completed to date.

A summary of developments in the present city pipeline include:

1. Seasons at Mable Place, currently under construction on Scenic Highway north of Chalet Suzanne Road and south of Brookshire, will host 142 single-family homes.

2. Jewel Ridge will include 172 homes on a former hayfield east of 11th Street and north of Post Salter Road.

3. Hunt Club North will include 600 townhomes and single family homes east of 11th Street and south of East Lake Plaza.

4. Hunt Club South will continue the previous development south to the Florida Midland Railroad line and include an additional 351 single-family homes and 191 more townhomes.

5. Lake Wales Estates, on nine acre south of Burns Avenue and north of Hillside Avenue, southwest of Quails Bluff apartments, is expected to include 57 townhome and seven single-family homesites.

6. Lakeside Landings, west of US 27 and south of Mountain Lake Road, is expected to consist of approximately 224 single-family residential homes.

7. Belle Lago, with 85 single-family homes, will occupy what is currently a citrus grove on the west side of Scenic Highway on Lake Belle south of Ridge Manor.

8. Peace Crossing, lying west of US 27 and stretching from Mountain Lake Road to Thompson Nursery Road is eventually expected to host 2,800 single-family detached homes, 550 single-family attached homes, 950 townhomes and 1800 apartment units, for a total of 6,100 dwelling units. That site will also host new office buildings, warehouses, and highway commercial development. (In the summer of 2022 the city commission approved adding 102.06 acres of land north of Mountain Lake Cutoff Road and west of US Highway 27 to the property plans. No projected housing count is available for that property.)

9. Leighton Landing, a project of Southern Homes, will rise on the east side of Buck Moore Road with 46 single-family homes.

10. Buck Moore Heights, with 100 single-family homes, will be west of Buck Moore

11. An unnamed 80-acre parcel north of Sunset and east of Buck Moore Road has been annexed and approved for 349 single-family homes.

12. Oakridge will host 30 duplex units on 4.26 acres on South 11th Street north of Wales Landing apartments and a dental complex, and across from the Orange Grove Shopping Center.

13. Towerview Apartments will be 91 units at the entrance to Towerwood MHP

14. Leoma's Landing is nearing completion of 336 single-family homes on Chalet Suzanne Road.

15. Robin's Run, with 144 single-family homes, will occupy land south of Sunset Drive and west of Buck Moore Road.

16. Robin's Walk will see 33 single-family homes built east of Buck Moore Road on the north side of Grant Road.

17. The Parc at Lake Wales, with 480 apartment units, will be built in two phases at the southeast corner of US 27 and Waverly Road.

18. Scenic Bluff Phase 2 offers 55 recently-completed single-family homes on Old Scenic Highway north of Burns Avenue.

19. The Preserve at Oakwood will allow seven new single-family homes on lots in that golf community on Capps Road.

20. Ridgecrest, located east of US 27 and west of Ridge Manor, will 818 single-family Lots, and 202 townhome lots for a total of 1020 units.

21. Whispering Ridge Phase 2 is a project of 129 new single-family homes south of the present neighborhood on 11th Street and north of the railroad.

22. Forest Lake is an approved 295-lot single-family PDP located on approximately 97.35 acres of land south of Chalet Suzanne Road and east of US Highway 27.

23. Belleview Drive is planned to include 155 single-family homes just north of that street and west of South 11th Street.

24. The Groves at Orchard Hills will include some 907 units and a 28,600 square foot commercial building 223.30 acres of citrus groves, is located south of Belleview Drive, east of Scenic Highway South, north of Passion Play Road, and west of 11th Street South, south of the Whispering Ridge and Belleview subdivisions and east of the Belle Lago subdivision.

25. Passion Play is the working title of an 88-unit development that will include 28 single-family homes and 60 townhomes planned for a site along 11th Street, south of Passion Play Road. The plan includes a commercial node at the corner of Hunt Bros. Road.

26. An innovative 31-unit "Pocket Neighborhood" is planned for vacant land on Scenic Highway at SR 60 as a "Traditional Neighborhood" infill project.

27. Bok Estates will include 300 townhomes in 55 buildings to be located on 29.94 acres off Old Scenic Highway adjacent to the Duke Energy maintenance facility.

28. Mammoth Grove will be 97 single-family homes and six acres of Neighborhood Commercial on the east side of Masterpiece Road at Mammoth Grove Road.

29. Grove Village Estates, 85 dwelling units, including 30 townhomes, will lie just north of the existing Leoma's Landing and The Preserve apartments.

31. Lake Alta is a proposed "infill" project of 24 two-story cottage units lying north of Kissimmee Avenue and west of a small park parcel surrounding tiny Lake Alta. Ownership of the parkland may be transferred to the developer in order to allow the requested density as a Planned Development Project.

31. Iron Mountain will include a total of 520 units, including townhomes, apartments and single-family detached houses in a valley on the northwest corner of Burns Avenue and Buck Moore Road.

32. Steeple Chase encompasses 250 single-family detached lots and 68 townhome units on about 98 acres of former citrus land along the north and east sides of Ridge Manor.

33. The Gardinier property north of Starr Lake sprawls across more than 900 acres to be annexed in phases. The city commission has already approved construction of Valencia Hills, including a 654-lot mobile home park and 143 conventional homes on 208 acres of the site.

34. Ford Groves includes 17.23 acres of land south of Waverly Road and west of C F Kinney Road.

35. Taylor Groves consists of 108-lot single-family homesites just east of Walmart and south of the existing mini-storage warehouses.

36. Evolve at Lake Wales will include six four-story buildings containing 272 apartment units on a 12.1 acre site on the north side of Chalet Suzanne Road and across from Wawa.

37. Hillpointe is projected to include 552 apartment units lying north of Chalet Suzanne Road and the existing Serenity Luxury Apartments.

38. An eight acre site at the intersection of SR 60 East and Evergreen Road has been zoned to host up to 40 houses or duplex units.

39. The Rama property on US 27 south, northwest of Blue Lake, has been rezoned Limited Commercial Industrial on 8.54 acres of highway frontage and Residential R-1A on 59.19 acres. That zoning would allow up to 299 residential units.

40. Green Gables - The former hotel site has been rezoned to create as many as 225 apartments on 8.84 acres. The one-time Howard Johnson's has been remodeled to create about 35 studio apartments.

The projects cited are in addition to numerous homes being built on vacant lots across the city by individual homeowners.

New planned commercial developments include a 51-acre shopping center site at the southeast corner of US 27 and Waverly Road, as well as several restaurants and other individual commercial projects within city limits.


Reader Comments(3)

vjspin3 writes:

14. Leoma's Landing is nearing completion of 336 single-family homes on Chalet Suzanne Road. There are maybe 50 homes either completed or under construction.

LeslieJoiner writes:

I have many family members born and raised in Lake Wales. I hate to see all of the changes, but more importantly, I hate to see so many houses and apartments coming in, but none to help the many elderly on Social Security and lower income families. How sad.

Tekacollier writes:

My heart just breaks watching all the clearing of our lands. With this approved growth, Lake Wales will never be so beautiful again. My children’s Grandfather and Great Grandfather were amongst the first 100 residents. Now we all feel trapped in our neighborhoods as new neighborhoods will use our already busy roads. I think the Officials only care about new residents and not the citizens of Lake Wales that have made our community great.

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