More proof that developers are loving Southwest Florida Again

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In the news recently are some major developments that are being planned to build in the very near future. The most notable are Babcock Ranch, Ave Maria and Talis.

Newpress Article on Syd Kitson

Syd Kitson’s at ease now in his seat on the roller coaster known as Southwest Florida’s real estate market. In 2005 the West Palm Beach-based developer announced plans for a 19,000-acre, solar-powered town on the eastern edge of Southwest Florida.

That project went dormant after the housing industry collapsed a few months later.

But Kitson, 54, says that project has come back to life. He expects to break ground by the first quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, he’s busy with his latest venture: Talis Park, the new name for Tuscany Reserve, a failed WCI Communities golf community on the northern edge of Collier County.

Kitson bought Tuscany in 2010 for $30 million. That may sound like a lot, but WCI put $220 million into the project’s high-end golf course and over-the-top landscaping before selling to foreign investment group AB Naples LLC in 2008 for $65 million, considered a steal at the time.

Now, as the local real estate market staggers to its feet, Kitson’s confident Talis and Babcock are in the right place at the right time.

The News-Press caught up with him last week at Talis Park and asked him five questions about how he sees things:

Tell us about Talis Park and about your philosophy in developing it.

WCI was the original developer and they did a magnificent job. They created a great land plan and put in excess of $200 million into the ground. You can see it when you go through the community. And then there was a second buyer who came in and also did a great job maintaining the property, but this is all through the downturn. So we’re very fortunate to come in and purchase it at a favorable price. The future homeowners really get to take advantage of that. Because you have a project that is financially solid, you have a community that’s financially solid and you have a club that’s financially solid, not only today but into the future when they take it over themselves. So they get to take advantage of a situation that we were able to also.

We’re coming out of a very serious slump, both nationally and especially in Southwest Florida, for the home-building industry. Tell me a little bit about how you feel about the opportunities and perhaps some of the perils ad pitfalls that lie ahead

New Ave Maria community

A new home builder is coming to Ave Maria, with plans to construct at least 1,500 single-family homes in a community that will mirror one of its most successful ones on Florida’s east coast.

Naples-based Barron Collier Cos., a co-developer of Ave Maria, will build the new neighborhood in a joint partnership with CC Devco, based in Coral Gables, minutes from downtown Miami.

Longtime developers Armando Codina and Jim Carr founded CC Devco in 2008 and have been involved in more than 40 residential projects across the state, including one called Monterra in Cooper City, southwest of Fort Lauderdale. Monterra is one of Florida’s fastest growing communities — and it’s the one that will be repeated in the growing town of Ave Maria, 40 miles east of Naples.

CC Devco is buying out the interests of Ave Maria University and Tom Monaghan, the founder of the town and the university, in a chunk of undeveloped land south and east of the town center. The deal, which is expected to close in the next month or two, involves 618 acres that will become Maple Ridge at Ave Maria. The purchase price of those interests was not disclosed.

Monaghan and Barron Collier Cos. formed a 50-50 private partnership called Ave Maria Development to own and develop a new town surrounding a Catholic university. At build out, Ave Maria is expected to have 11,000 homes on its 4,000 acres.

CC Devco will join the town’s two other homebuilders: Pulte, the primary and original one, and Lennar. Those two are national builders, unlike CC Devco that has its eye on Florida.

Prices will range from the $190,000s to the low $300,000s. There are nine one- and two-story floor plans, spanning from 1,900 square feet to more than 4,000 square feet. Six of those models are the same ones built at Monterra, which came out of the ground three years ago.

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