Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Cagan Crossings

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Cagan Crossings

Article excerpt

Cagan Crossings transformed a formerly overlooked area four miles west of Walt Disney World into a bustling and thriving community.

Our Town

Blending modern residential amenities with small-town charm is not easy in todays real estate environment. Luckily, tenants find just that at Cagan Crossings, located in Clermont, Fla. Cagan Crossings is a traditional neighborhood development-a modern concept of developing a neighborhood or town in a typically underdeveloped area.

Prior to Cagan Crossings, the lush, undeveloped land sat adjacent to a busy highway. Although many developers were eager to build a strip mall in this prime location, owners Sandra and Jeffrey Cagan had other plans.

"A strip center with retail may have been more lucrative, but we wanted to develop a walkable community with a town square; we wanted to make this into a little town," said Sandra.

Influenced by Celebration-a planned community at the Walt Disney World-the Cagans were committed to creating a traditional neighborhood development in an often overlooked area just four miles west of Disney. "When we got here, people thought if you went west of Disney, youd fall off the edge of the Earth," said Sandra. "But we had this pristine land and a vision for the whole property. We wanted to do something really different."

Today, Cagan Crossings comprises four apartment complexes with more than 1,400 apartment units total; 56,000 square feet of commercial space; a town center with retailers and restaurants; gardens; walkable streets and sidewalks; and a 30,000-square-foot community library.

Building a Village

Cagan Crossings has four apartment complexes throughout the property with a Town Center located in the front of the property. Unlike traditional apartment complexes, all of the parking lots are located behind the complexes rather than the front. "That way, when you come into the neighborhood you don't just see a bunch of cars in the parking lot," said Sandra. "Instead, you see people's porches, sidewalks and connected outdoor spaces."

This thoughtful design detail was critical to establishing a neighborhood feel. The porches naturally draw people outdoors, allowing them to connect with their neighbors and take advantage of the scenic gardens and outdoor spaces. "The porches and balconies on the units are set closely to the sidewalks," said Sandra. "As people are sitting out on their porches, they say hello to people walking their dogs and they interact with their neighbors."

The heart of the Cagan Crossings is the Town Center. Here, residents and non-residents enjoy a wide range of retailers and restaurants, along with community-building events like a weekly farmers' market, movie nights and holiday parties.

To attract retailers to the Town Center, the Cagans made things personal. In 2001, they opened the first retail establishment at Cagan Crossings with their old-fashioned ice cream shop, Simka's Sweets. "It was important for us to show retailers that this was viable space," said Sandra. "Opening this shop helped us bring in other business, while also helping to build a sense of community."

Steady Growth

Developing Cagan Crossings has been a labor of love that began in 1992. At that time, the Cagans took over management of a 434unit apartment complex called Southlake Apartments. …

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