Every day brings a new opportunity to make history at Babcock Ranch. The environmentally-friendly new town rising northeast of Fort Myers is wrapping up a year jam-packed with historic ‘firsts’ — and looking ahead to many more milestones in the weeks and months ahead.
While construction of the first commercial buildings and homes got underway in 2016, when the history of this town is written 2017 will go down as the year that Kitson & Partner’s vision became reality.
Kitson’s team set ambitious goals focused on the environment, energy, education, technology, health, transportation and storm safety. The new town is the economic engine that made it possible to put 73,000 acres of the historic Babcock Ranch into permanent preservation, and it is designed to be a sustainable neighbor to the preserve. Half of the town’s 18,000-acre footprint will also be preserved as green spaces providing residents with opportunities to connect with nature.
Kitson partnered with Florida Power & Light (FPL) to lay the cornerstone for sustainable development at Babcock Ranch. FPL’s 75MW Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center went online at the very beginning of 2017 — generating enough clean, renewable energy to meet total community demand before the first building was even completed. The water utility facilities at Babcock Ranch were also completed in early 2017. In addition to water and sewer, Town & Country Utilities is providing reclaimed water for all irrigation purposes within Babcock Ranch.
A partnership with CenturyLink delivers on Kitson’s promised technological infrastructure. All homes and businesses are equipped with a full gigabyte of fiber-optic connectivity. Another strategic partnership is introducing autonomous shuttles to put Babcock Ranch on the cutting edge for alternative transportation.
Founders Square came to life in February 2017 as the first buildings in the initial downtown district were completed. During a Founder’s Fest weekend celebration in early March, a ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the public opening of the Discovery Center at Woodlea Hall, Curry Creek Outfitters and the lakefront Table & Tap restaurant. Founder’s Fest also marked the opening of the first model homes in the Lake Timber Neighborhood. More than 20,000 turned out over the course of that first weekend to preview the new town-in-the-making.
The buzz of daily activity stepped up in August with the opening of Babcock Neighborhood School for students in grades K-6, making Babcock Ranch the first new town where education really does come first.
With the school building already at full capacity and more than a100 students on the waiting list, Kitson stepped up the timeline for a central education campus. The full-size K-8 building will open next August with the high school slated to open the following year.
November saw a boom in home sales at Babcock Ranch with the launch of two additional neighborhoods with home prices starting in the $190s. Multiple contracts were signed during the first week of the “Make the Move” promotion and future residents are continuing to take advantage of the pre-construction prices and incentives being offered by all homebuilders. The sustainability features at Babcock Ranch are proving to be attractive to young families and empty nesters alike.
Babcock Ranch will mark yet another huge milestone during the first week of 2018 when the very first residents move in. They won’t be alone for long. The second closing and move-in is set for the middle of January with a steady stream of new neighbors coming close behind.
At Founders Square, the general store, Slater’s Goods and Provisions, will be celebrating its grand opening on Jan. 5. The Health and Wellness Center that takes up the entire east side of the lakefront downtown district is nearing completion starting the countdown toward the next big event in Babcock Ranch history. The town’s official grand opening is set for March 10.
To learn more about investing in Babcock Ranch land and real estate contact an expert member of the 9 Core Realty team today!