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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 9 months ago

Lee County closes on Edison Farms deal

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Less than a year after the property first came to market, Lee County has acquired a massive Bonita Springs tract in the southern part of the county for $42.43 million.
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

Less than a year after the property first came to market, Lee County has acquired a massive Bonita Springs tract in the southern part of the county for $42.43 million.

The county intends to use the 4,000-acre Edison Farms land for future stormwater management, preservation and recreational purposes.

The deal, which went under contract in September, marks one of the largest land sales in Southwest Florida since 2012.

Seller Investors Warranty of America LLC, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based subsidiary of Transamerica Life Insurance Co., took control of the property through a foreclosure.

“This transaction gives Lee County, and all of Southwest Florida, the opportunity to have its own Central Park,” says Randy Thibaut, CEO of commercial real estate brokerage firm Land Solutions Inc., which represented Investors Warranty.

Thibaut, who negotiated the deal together with William Rollins and Justin Thibaut, also of Land Solutions, adds the purchase will allow the county to “create a multitude of recreational opportunities for residents.”

The site had attracted interest from builders because roughly 1,200 acres of Edison Farms has been designated for development of as many as 3,000 homes.

But conservationists argued buying the property, which contains headwaters for three major tributaries into Estero Bay, would improve water quality and preserve important habitat for wildlife.

With the county's purchase, the land is expected to be preserved into perpetuity.

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