Scott T. Boyd and his team at Boyd Development Corp. are focused on making Hamlin a lively and inviting place, where residents will enjoy proximity to every imaginable amenity. Plus, they say, it’ll be a place where Central Floridians, regardless of where they live, will be eager to visit.



The approximately 1,000 acres of Hamlin, the vibrant heart of the 3,624-acre town center, was a lake-dotted blank slate on which developer Scott T. Boyd could create a regional destination that would rival, for example, Winter Park. 

And he’s doing just that. Hamlin is rapidly morphing from an expanse of old groves — tangy Hamlin oranges were once grown there — into what will soon become a shopping and entertainment mecca to rival anything else in Central Florida. Not surprisingly, homes there are selling as quickly as they can be built.

Boyd and his team at Boyd Development Corp. are focused on making Hamlin a lively and inviting place, where residents will enjoy proximity to every imaginable amenity. Plus, they say, it’ll be a place where Central Floridians, regardless of where they live, will be eager to visit.

How about a movie in a state-of-the-art cineplex, followed by a late-night dinner at a gourmet restaurant? Or window-shopping along a lively, tree-lined street bordered by intriguing boutiques? 

Or a leisurely stroll along a scenic boardwalk that hugs the shores of a pristine lake? Or a bracing jaunt through a series of beautifully landscaped parks linked by a pedestrian trail network?

Then, when it’s time to call it a night, perhaps home is just minutes away in a brand-new lakefront neighborhood, where the top builders in the U.S. have pulled out all the stops with eye-popping designs and state-of-the-art technology.

“We want Hamlin to be a destination,” says Ken Kupp, a Boyd Development principal. “It’ll have an actively programmed town center, with at least 100 to 150 events a year. It’s a classic live/work/play community.”

Valued at $1 billion, Hamlin was kick-started in 2014 when the New Independence Parkway interchange was opened off S.R. 429. New Independence Parkway was extended east for nearly a mile to Schoolhouse Pond Road, which leads to the community of Independence. 

A four-lane road, Hamlin Grove Trail, was built parallel to S.R. 429, and runs south from New Independence Parkway to Summerlake Park Boulevard, which leads to the community of Summerlake. Once the roads were in place, the pace quickened.

Now open on the 64-acre northwest quadrant of the interchange is a 400,000-square-foot retail complex that includes a 193,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter as well as about a half-dozen outparcels with shops and restaurants. 

A second retail complex, this one clocking in at 200,000 square feet, occupies the 66-acre southwest quadrant. It’s anchored by a 54,000-square-foot Publix Supermarket, which opened in 2018.

Some of those businesses are owned and operated by Horizon West residents. Sheila and Matt Bater, for example, own and operate Hotworx, a 24-hour infrared fitness studio that opened in July 2019 on New Independence Parkway just south of the Walmart and near Starbucks. 

With virtual instructors, the studio offers exercise programs created for users to experience infrared heat absorption while completing a 30-minute isometric workout or a 15-minute high intensity interval training session.

“This is a great location to open a business due to the fact that the developers are amazing, and the area continues to grow both in residential housing as well as local shops and eateries,” says Sheila Bater. “It’s convenient to get to and there’s ample parking. We absolutely love living and working here in Hamlin and look forward to being part of the future growth of the area.” 

With her Abbott’s Frozen Custard shop, Jennifer Pelcher has transplanted a small slice of her hometown of Rochester, New York, into Horizon West. Located on the south side of New Independence Parkway, the business opened in July 2019.

“Abbott’s was founded in the early 1900s in Rochester, which is where (husband) Steve and I grew up,” she says. “We didn’t go out for ice cream — we went out for Abbott’s. It’s a local favorite to Rochester. When we moved to Horizon West, we knew it would be the perfect fit for the community.”

It’s a good location in part because Horizon West is one of the fastest-growing communities in the U.S., adds Sheila Bater, who has lived with her family in Summerlake since 2013. “With so many young families moving to the area, we needed a family friendly spot to take the kids,” she says.

The southeast quadrant — the Lake District — encompasses a 40,000-square-foot, dine-in cineplex boasting 10 screens and stadium seating. Operated by Dallas-based Cinépolis USA, the complex offers perhaps the most luxurious moviegoing experience in the region. 

“Cinépolis Hamlin” is the brand’s seventh upscale dine-in movie theater in the U.S. and only its second in Florida (the other is in Jupiter). It features fully reclining leather seats, waiter service, gourmet dining and a full bar.

Coming soon are some exciting restaurants that are new to the market, including Ford’s Garage, a national gourmet-burger chain, and Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza, which specializes in house-made pastas, as well as pizzas, sandwiches and calzones baked in its 800-degree coal-fired ovens. A longtime local favorite, Bosphorus, based in Winter Park and with a location in Lake Nona, has opened its Hamlin location, bringing delicious Turkish cuisine to Horizon West.

Besides the anchors, there are already 14 buildings with 26 tenants open and operating, and more are on the way. Like much of the commercial architecture in Hamlin, the center’s look is sophisticated with a touch of industrial chic.

Anchored by the theater is the jewel of Hamlin — a charming lifestyle center built on 28 acres on Lake Hancock. There, visitors will enjoy an Old Florida ambience and plenty of inviting parks and public areas. There’ll also be events galore, such as music festivals and art shows. 

“The opportunity to have access to Lake Hancock makes this a really special place,” adds Boyd Development’s Kupp. “There aren’t many opportunities like that left in Central Florida.”

The lifestyle center will be packed with retail and dining options as well as a boardwalk and boat slips, making it accessible by watercraft. The boardwalk will link to a multiuse trail system — which eventually will be connected to the existing 22-mile West Orange Trail — and a lakefront park accessible by foot, bike or golf cart. 

East of the lifestyle district, an upscale 316-unit apartment complex dubbed LakeWalk at Hamlin has been completed. In addition, two luxury apartment projects are currently under construction that will open within the next six months: The Lodge, a 250-unit community along New Independence Parkway; and Overture, the 180-unit community for 55-plus residents along State Road 429 south of Publix.

In the town center, about 200,000 square feet of commercial space is under development. Coming in the next 12 to 18 months: a mixture of restaurant, retail, service, entertainment and office space.  

There are four active neighborhoods in Hamlin: Sanctuary at Hamlin by Dream Finders Homes (priced from the low $300s), and Hamlin Reserve by Ashton Woods Homes (priced from the low $300s). Taylor Morrison has two neighborhoods: The Cove at Hamlin (priced from the mid-$300s) and Overlook at Hamlin (priced from the low $400s). 

Orlando Health, which owns about 80 acres along the south side of Porter Road, has opened an emergency room and a medical pavilion. In 2021 the healthcare provider plans to open a six-story, 214,000-square-foot hospital with 103 beds as well as an onsite laboratory and outpatient imaging services. 

In addition, a new proton therapy center is under construction across New Independence Parkway from LakeWalk. It’s a joint venture between Knoxville, Tennessee-based Provision Healthcare and Hamlin Retail Partners West, a subsidiary of Boyd Development and Schrimsher Properties. Proton therapy is a type of radiation treatment that uses protons rather than X-rays to treat the disease.

The center will encompass three treatment rooms and use the latest proton systems technology of Provision Healthcare, an affiliate of ProNova Solutions. There are fewer than 25 proton therapy centers operating in the U.S., including one at the UF Health Cancer Center-Orlando Health campus near downtown. 

In addition, related medical office buildings and cancer-treatment facilities will be developed around the center.

“The Hamlin proton center will be a great addition to the medical community and a real benefit to the residents of Central Florida,” says Boyd. “We look forward to Provision bringing their state-of-the-art technology, along with their culture of care, to our Central Florida community.”

Elsewhere in Hamlin, Valencia College has 150 acres on Schofield Road and will likely build a branch campus, although specific plans haven’t been announced. 

Clearly, there’s a lot going on in Hamlin. “We have the ability to create a great plan and to execute it,” Boyd says. “We can do something that will stand the test of time.”