Builder warms up to solar power

Solar power has been moving into the Sunshine State one home at a time, but now one builder is ramping up to do more on a larger scale.

ICI Homes, based in Volusia County and one of Florida's largest developers of luxury communities, has begun offering optional solar power in all its homes.

Steve Reeger, ICI Homes' special projects coordinator, said the GE solar panels are designed to blend into the roof, making the option easier for homeowners -- and their neighbors -- to accept visually. There is no large grid on the roof, Reeger said, as the solar-electric panels are the same shape as roof tiles, integrated into the design for improved aesthetics.

Reeger said the silicon-wafer photovoltaic panels create electricity by converting the sun's energy into direct current and then into alternating current to power air conditioners, appliances and lighting.

During peak production times, when the sun is at its highest, the system generates more power than the home can use, and excess power is sent to the electric-company grid. A meter records the extra electricity, which appears as a credit on the homeowner's monthly bill, Reeger said.

The optional solar panels cost about $40,000 but qualify for a $20,000 rebate from the state of Florida and a $2,000 federal tax credit. The company was recently installing the solar system in a 3,500-square-foot home in Ormond Beach, in its WestLake neighborhood at Plantation Bay. Reeger estimated the average monthly electric bill for the home will be less than $100 a month, far lower than for many homes the same size without solar.

Contracts

Kelly Electric LLC has begun work on the University of Central Florida's Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences. The 196,000-square-foot project, at Lake Nona in southeastern Orlando, is slated for completion in June 2009. Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. is construction manager. The total electrical contract is valued at $5 million.

Condos

Tower, formerly known as CondoMax USA, an Ashkenazy & Agus Ventures company and a national leader in commercial and multifamily residential properties, has completed work on Vista Verde, a luxury condominium in Orlando. Formerly the Greens at MetroWest, the complex offers one- and two-bedroom units and amenities including glass-enclosed fireplaces, walk-in closets in each bedroom, and private patios overlooking the golf course. Community features include a clubhouse with fitness center and movie theater, resort-style swimming pool with spa, detached garages and covered parking.

Vacation homes

Kissimmee-based brokerage firm All Star Vacation Home Realty has partnered with developer Maesbury Homes as the sales team for 27 lots in the new vacation-home community of Calabria. Property-management company All Star Vacation Homes has been selected as the preferred marketing, interior design and management-service provider for the homes. Calabria is an Italian-inspired community five miles from Walt Disney World.

Sales

Realty Capital/TCN Worldwide facilitated the sale of an 8,716-square-foot building at 1301 W. Colonial Drive in Orlando for $1.7 million. Realty Capital Vice President Elliott Jamison and consultant David Wright represented the seller, Kaufman, Englett & Lynd P.A. The buyer was HEP Real Estate Holdings LLC. . . .

Stirling International Realty Commercial Group recently negotiated a $1.7 million sale for an 8,687-square-foot retail shell building at Regency Pointe on Lake Mary Boulevard at Fifth Street in Lake Mary. Frank Dever, managing director of Stirling International Realty Commercial Group, said MCCS-Regency LLC of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands was the buyer. Regency Pointe Partners, based in Lake Mary, was the seller.

Financing

Land Resource LLC, an Orlando-based developer of luxury residential communities, has secured a $60 million revolving-credit facility to provide for acquisitions, development and other capital needs. KeyBank Real Estate Capital and Wachovia Bank N.A. were co-lead arrangers for the facility.

Acquisition

Del American Realty Group Inc. and investor partner Lincoln Financial Services have acquired a 28.9-acre parcel in Heathrow. Financed by Regions Bank, the site will become home to a $65 million luxury, multifamily rental community. CDG Living @ Heathrow will be a 252-unit project. Core Construction is the general contractor; work begins this fall, with occupancy during the summer of 2008.

Made in the shade

ABC Awnings Inc. of Longwood recently completed an awning and canopy project for Keene Construction at Universal Technical Institute and the Little Lake Bryan Retail Center.

Construction

McKee Construction Co. of Sanford recently completed the North Seminole Business Center in Sanford, a 5-acre business park with 37,800 square feet of office space, 15,000 square feet of office condos, and a 115,000-square-foot facility for Maronda Homes Inc. of Florida, also of Sanford. The facility is a systems-assembly plant off Monroe Road, a fully automated operation capable of producing complete floor and wall systems for Maronda Homes.

Design

HuntonBrady Architects, an Orlando-based architecture, interior design and planning firm, has been selected to design the new headquarters for Inwood Consulting Engineers in Winter Springs. Construction begins soon on the two-story, 30,000-square-foot, Class A office building. Phase II of the design will add an additional 15,000 square feet.

CONTACT: Jerry W. Jackson can be reached at jwjackson@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5721.


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