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Business Observer Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 1 year ago

Lee County to buy Edison Farms for $42.5 million

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In one of the largest land transactions by acreage in Southwest Florida in the past five years, Lee County has committed to acquiring a 4,000-acre tract in the southern portion of the county for $42.5 million.
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

In one of the largest land transactions by acreage in Southwest Florida in the past five years, Lee County has committed to acquiring a 4,000-acre tract in the southern portion of the county for $42.5 million.

The county plans to use the Edison Farms property to enhance preservation efforts and as educational land and open space. The sale is scheduled to be completed in December.

“It's a very strategic piece of property, and a valuable piece of property,” says Lee County Commissioner Larry Kiker, whose district includes Edison Farms.

“It has a wildlife corridor and it's important land for stormwater management. This purchase will result in a huge water quality boost for the entire county.”

In putting the Bonita Springs property on the market earlier this year, seller Investors Warranty of America sought a buyer that could close on a purchase by the end of the year, says Randy Thibaut, whose Land Solutions Inc. commercial real estate firm marketed the property on behalf of the seller.

“Lee County has been looking specifically at these types of properties for a while now,” says Thibaut, Land Solutions' CEO, noting that the government offered roughly $170 million for Edison Farms in 2005.

“But in this case, the timing was right, the buyer and seller came to mutually beneficial terms, and ultimately Lee County residents and the Nature Conservancy win, and all of Southwest Florida wins.”

The deal marks the largest of its kind since November 2016, when Palm Beach investor Jeff Greene paid $38.5 million for a nearly 2,600-acre tract in North Naples, in Collier County.

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