D.R. Horton advanced plans to build a 211-unit townhouse development called Merrick Square on a portable-classroom site in Pembroke Pines.
City commissioners voted 3-2 Wednesday to grant final approval to a land use plan amendment for the 27-acre development site just west of I-75 on the southeast corner of Pines Boulevard and Southwest 172nd Avenue.
The commissioners also voted 3-2 to initially approve an ordinance that would rezone part of the development site. A second and final reading of the proposed rezoning is scheduled for March 17.
Commissioner Angelo Castillo, who voted against the rezoning and land use change, said roadway improvements to reduce traffic congestion in west Pembroke Pines should come before any additional townhouse developments.
If D.R. Horton wins all the city approvals it seeks, it expects to start building the townhomes in the spring of 2022 and finish them “sometime during 2023,” a company spokesperson said via email.
Prices will start in the $400,000s for three- and four-bedroom townhouses. The homebuilder will target a broad market, “from families and young professionals to first-time homebuyers and empty nesters,” the spokesperson said.
D.R. Horton is under contract to buy the portable-classroom site in Pembroke Pines from Broward County Public Schools for $20.3 million. The publicly held, Texas-based homebuilder has estimated the total cost of the Merrick Square project, including the land, at $58.8 million.
Land scarcity in Broward County is encouraging residential developers to build attached townhouses instead of single-family homes, D.R. Horton said in its application to amend the land-use designation of the Merrick Square site.
“The inventory of attached homes in [Pembroke Pines] has grown at more than twice the rate of detached homes in the last five years,” according to the application. “Broward is 1,323 square miles, substantially smaller than its South Florida neighbors Palm Beach County (1,970) and Miami-Dade County (1,898). Developable land is especially scarce in Broward because about half the county, or approximately 660 square miles, lies in the Everglades.”
The portable-classroom site at Pines Boulevard and Southwest 172 Avenue is part of a lot and land inventory of about 313,000 sites that D.R. Horton controls through purchase contracts, according to the company’s latest quarterly earnings report.
D.R. Horton reported Tuesday that its fourth-quarter pre-tax earnings nearly doubled to $1 billion in 2020, and revenue in the three months ended Dec. 31 jumped 48 percent to $5.9 billion.