Babcock Ranch, billed as America’s first solar-powered town, is getting some national attention — both for sales and sustainability.
On sales, Babcock Ranch, located northeast of Fort Myers on Babcock Ranch Road/State Road 31, ranked No. 34 in 2020 home sales among master-planned communities nationwide. Developed by Palm Beach Gardens-based Kitson & Partners, Babcock Ranch posted 540 residential sales in 2020, according to RCLCO Real Estate Advisors and John Burns Real Estate Consulting. That represented a 121% boost from the prior year and one of the largest percentage jumps in the Top 50.
Babcock Ranch began marketing new homes in 2017, with the first residents moving into the town in January 2018. The master plan includes 19,500 homes and six million square feet of commercial and community uses to accommodate an estimated population of 50,000.
Coming off the big gain in sales, Babcock Ranch officials were recently informed the community was named a finalist for an Edison Award. The awards — with an event scheduled for April in Fort Myers — honor the world’s top innovations and innovators. There are 14 categories, according to a statement, and Babcock Ranch is a finalist as a game-changer in the sustainability category.
“We set out to create a whole new model for smart, sustainable growth and it is extremely gratifying to have our efforts recognized,” Kitson & Partners Chairman and CEO Syd Kitson says in the statement. “Our full potential as a game changer rides on our ability to inspire others in the U.S. and around the world to grow more responsibly. We are proving that doing right for the planet doesn’t have to cost more and, in fact, it can give you a competitive advantage.”
Some of the communities sustainable features, the release states, include:
• Half the community’s 18,000-acre footprint is set aside as greenways, parks and lakes;
• All homes and buildings must meet Florida Green Building Coalition standards;
• All irrigation needs are met with reclaimed water from its own water and wastewater utility; and
• Florida Power & Light solar fields with more than 688,000 panels across 870 acres at the northern edge of town generate 150 megawatts of renewable energy.
Named after inventor Thomas Edison, who had a family winter home and laboratory in Fort Myers, the 2021 Edison Awards finalists include new services and products from more than 10 countries. Past winners include Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Martha Stewart. The three-day awards celebration is scheduled to take place at the Luminary Hotel and Co. and Caloosa Sound Convention Center in the downtown Fort Myers River District April 21-23.