Orlando Business JournalSure, the local housing market has tanked. But Issa Homes Inc. is betting pro golfers and snowbirds still will plunk down $1 million or more for a vacation home in the upscale Lake Nona Golf & Country Club community.

To that end, the Celebration-based builder currently is building four of six planned multifamily buildings. Each of the structures has four “coach homes” for a total of 16 units, nine of which have been sold. A coach home is one of a group of homes in a two-story building, each home with its own garage and entrance.

Construction began a year ago, and the first residents will be able to move in sometime next month.
“We’re building a product that was not available in Lake Nona until we came on board,” says Don Hempel, vice president, and director at Issa Homes, who oversees the project.
To be sure, “there is risk involved in prebuilding 16 coach homes at a time,” says Andy Odenbach, vice president of the 600-acre Lake Nona Golf & Country Club. “But you are more likely to sell a dozen $1 million homes in comparison to a dozen $5 million homes.”

The three- and four-bedroom coach homes on the shore of Lake Nona range from 3,081-3,778 square feet and are priced from $1 million to $1.8 million.
They each come with a two-car garage, Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, a center island in a gourmet kitchen, breakfast nook, covered lanai, great room, his and her walk-in closets in the master suite, and designer details. “The developer’s goal is to keep it as an exclusive country club experience,” says Hempel.

They’re designed to appeal to people who want the privacy and security of a manned gate, as well as those looking for a maintenance-free lifestyle for whom price is not an issue, says Odenbach.
He expects the coach homes to draw the interest of pro golfers, snowbirds, and vacationers, saying they “are good for investors and people who are going to be there a few times a year.”
One of the selling points is what he calls “lock-and-go” convenience. “They can turn the key, walk away and not have to worry about a sprinkler head breaking,” says Odenbach.

And despite the sluggish housing market that has affected downtown condos, certain types of residential properties — lakefront, premium, and niche — will always do well, says Charlie Orden, broker/owner with Remax Town Centre. After all, he says, “There are only so many golf courses, and there are only so many lakes.”
Issa Homes Inc.

Founded: 1972โ€จHeadquarters: 950 Celebration Blvd., Ste. F, Celebration, 34747

Top official: Francis Issa, president, and founder
Contact: (407) 566-4772, www.issahomes.com