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Real Estate Briefs (Lee/Collier)

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  • | 6:00 p.m. September 19, 2005
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Real Estate Briefs (Lee/Collier)

Worthington Communities

Sells Arborwood in Lee County

Buyer: Arborwood Community Development District

Seller: Worthington Holdings Southwest LLC

Property: Rights of way, common areas, lakes and preserve areas at Arborwood development, Lee County

Purchase price: $67.3 million

Law firm on deed: Hopping, Wade & Sams, PA, Tallahassee

Buyer: Centex Homes

Seller: Worthington Holdings Southwest LLC

Property: 1,700 acres of land

Purchase price: $55.3 million

Law firm on deed: Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, PA, Fort Myers

Buyer: Lee County Homes Associates III, LLLP

Seller: Worthington Holdings Southwest LLC

Property: 500 acres of land

Purchase price: $40.6 million

Law firm on deed: Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, PA, Fort Myers

Plans, description: Fort Myers-based developer Worthington Communities assembled about 2,400 acres in Lee County, developed it and sold portions of it to the Arborwood Community Development District (CDD), Centex Homes and GL Homes.

The Arborwood development is east of Interstate 75, west of the Gateway area, north of Daniels Parkway and south of Colonial Boulevard.

"We assembled the acreage four or five years ago," says John Gnagey, principal with Worthington. It took about a year to assemble 44 separate parcels, he says. The Arborwood CDD is a governmental entity formed to issue bonds to pay for roads and other infrastructure in the community.

Centex plans to build 2,300 homes on the land it purchased and has started selling home sites. The name of its community is The Plantation. Centex will start building model homes in December and then build homes for residents shortly thereafter. The company estimated it will take about eight years to build out the community. The homes will range in size from 1,654 square feet to 3,833 square feet and prices will start at about $360,000.

Centex Homes is a division of Dallas-based Centex Corp. Its Southwest Florida headquarters are in Naples.

GL Homes, a Coral Springs-based homebuilder, purchased about 500 acres at Arborwood and plans to build more than 500 single-family homes in a community it calls Botanica Lakes. The first 72 homes were sold in August and construction is scheduled to begin early next year. The homes cost from about $300,000 to more than $500,000.

GL Homes entered the Southwest Florida market in 2001 when it developed Saturnia Lakes, a gated community with 704 single-family homes off Immokalee Road in North Naples. The company has been building master-planned communities for 30 years, mostly in southeast Florida.

Worthington Communities is a privately held developer based in Fort Myers and started developing land in Lee County in the 1980s. It's currently developing Renaissance, a 500-acre residential community on Daniels Parkway in Fort Myers near I-75.

Freeland buys 16 acres

to move Naples Nissan

Buyer: Freeland & Schuh

Seller: Richard C. Myer

Property: 16 acres of land on Pine Ridge Road, Collier County

Price: $9.5 million

Law firm on deed: Cardillo, Keith & Bonaquist, P.A., Naples

Plans, description: Ben Freeland, chief executive officer of Naples Nissan, bought 16 acres of land at the corner of Pine Ridge Road and Whippoorwill Lane in Collier County. Freeland plans to build a new 40,000-square-foot Nissan auto dealership and 20,000 square feet of office space. The office space will accommodate employees who work for Internet Mobile Technologies, a company Freeland started in 1999 to provide automotive services, such as sales and financing via the Web. Together, Naples Nissan and Internet Mobile Technologies employ 120 people.

Freeland, a third-generation car dealer, says he hopes to have the new dealership and offices completed by the end of 2006. The dealership will move from its current location on Airport Road North near Progress Avenue. That property has been sold to the adjacent Tamiami Ford dealership, and Naples Nissan is leasing it back until it moves into its new facility.

Freeland & Schuh mortgaged the property to Wachovia Bank for $6.9 million.

Office condos planned

for downtown Fort Myers

Buyer: MDG Downtown Partners LLC

Seller: First Street RLLP

Property: 2401 First Street, Fort Myers

Price: $3.5 million

Previous price: $600,000, January 2002

Law firm on deed: Robert M. Lipshutz, Esq.

Plans, description: Naples-based MDG Downtown Partners bought a 33,000-square-foot office building in downtown Fort Myers that it plans to split up into 12 office condominiums. The office condos will measure 1,500 square feet each and will either be sold for about $200 to $235 per square foot or leased for $22 per square foot on a triple-net basis. "We'll be putting a whole new façade on the building," says Chip Olson, president of Colonial Square Realty in Naples. Olson is one of the owners of the building.

In addition to the office condos, retail space will be available on the ground floor. The building is currently empty, except for one tenant who occupies 7,000 square feet. Olson will market the condos to lawyers, architects and other professionals looking for office space downtown.zMDG Downtown Partners mortgaged the property to Encore Bank for $2.9 million.

Prime Homebuilders plan

town homes for Lee, Collier

Buyer: Portofino Falls Builder Inc.

Seller: Wolf Creek Estates LLC

Property: 20 acres of land near Vanderbilt Beach Road and Collier Boulevard

Price: $2.6 million

Previous price: $1.3 million, April 2004

Law firm on deed: Goodlette, Coleman & Johnson, P.A., Naples

Plans, description: Prime Homebuilders of Fort Lauderdale bought 20 acres of land near the intersection of Vanderbilt Beach Road and Collier Boulevard in Collier County where it plans to build about 490 town homes, says Fred Abbo, president of the company.

The site is on the north side of Vanderbilt Beach Road near the Island Walk residential community. "We hope to start breaking ground at the end of October," Abbo says. The three- and four-bedroom town homes at the Falls of Portofino will cost in the $300,000 range, and the first residents are scheduled to move in mid-2006.

Prime Homebuilders recently acquired other parcels in Lee County to build town-home communities. It plans to build 400 town homes on a tract near the intersection of Corkscrew and Alico roads; 300 town homes on Colonial Boulevard near Interstate 75 called Portofino Cove; and 192 town homes on Daniels Parkway. All will be priced below $400,000, Abbo says.

Prime Homebuilders is a family-owned company that has been building in South Florida for decades. Abbo says the company has had to expand to other parts of the state because of the lack of available land in the southeast. "We've got scouts all over Florida looking for land," he says.

US Home buys

Heritage Bay condo tract

Buyer: US Home Corp.

Seller: Bayvest LLC

Property: Tract B at Heritage Bay development in Naples

Price: $4.1 million

Title company on deed: North American Title Co.

Plans, description: US Home is developing Heritage Bay, a community on Immokalee Road near Collier Boulevard, and the builder is buying the land in tracts over time. "It's probably one of our condo tracts," says Darin McMurray, regional vice president with Lennar Corp., referring to Tract B. US Home is a division of Miami-based Lennar.

The company started building Heritage Bay this summer. When completed, Heritage Bay will have 1,350 homes and a 27-hole golf course. "Our infrastructure is going in now and we hope to have the first closings in the second quarter of 2006," says McMurray.

Lennar to build

condos in Fort Myers

Buyer: Ascot Preserve LLC

Seller: Dwight S. Baird, Trustee

Property: 1560 Bass Road, Fort Myers

Price: $3.2 million

Law firm on deed: Sheppard, Brett, Stewart, Hersch & Kinsey, PA, Fort Myers

Plans, description: Ascot Development of Delray Beach bought about 50 acres on Bass Road in Fort Myers and subsequently sold the land to the Lennar Corp. Darin McMurray, regional vice president with Lennar, says the company is still in the preliminary planning stages for a condominium project on the property, and the builder has not yet established the number and size of the condos. However, McMurray says prices will start in the $200,000 range, and he hopes construction will begin in the middle of 2006. Ascot is now developing the property for Lennar.


• The School Board of Lee County has purchased for $5.5 million 40.2 acres of land for a middle school on Kismet Parkway in Cape Coral near the intersection with Chiquita Boulevard. The board has not yet determined the size of the middle school or established construction schedules. The seller was Stephen W. Buckley, trustee.

• Chicago-based Sunterra bought a 120-unit apartment complex at 3541 Evans Ave. in Fort Myers for $5.2 million. The seller was S.C. Investments LLC. The complex is 100% full, says Mark Wiemeler, an owner of the privately held company. The apartments are subsidized housing built in the 1980s. This is Sunterra's first purchase in Florida. The company says it is looking to acquire other similar complexes throughout the state.


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