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Realty Check

Instead of feeling blue over lagging real estate sales, two Naples agents have gone green. Mitch Williams and Lori Young used some downtime to become certified EcoBrokers, a designation earned by spending long hours at their computers, learning about green building and taking tests that proved they did.

"It was a series of events that got me into it," says Williams, a Premier Properties of Southwest Florida broker-associate. "A builder friend had become a certified green builder, and a client from England—they’re more energy-conscious in Europe—began talking about developing a major green-building project locally. I’d read an article on the topic, so it seemed like the right thing to do."

It isn’t easy going green. Williams estimates he spent four nights a week for two months learning about energy-saving appliances, non-polluting building materials, air quality, solar energy and other concept details.

Now he’s working with his English client on Emerald House, a super-green estate home that will rise on a 1.5-acre lot at 3510 Fort Charles Drive in Port Royal. With approximately 8,000 square feet, the structure, due to break ground in March, is estimated to be in the $13 million range upon completion. Williams says he’ll also establish teams of experts who can make any home more energy efficient.

Young, a realtor with Sand Castle Realty Group, says her green education has not only made her a better marketer, but a passionate advocate of the cause. "We’ve got to keep spreading the word, educating the public and seizing opportunities to build smarter," she says. "For example, people often think green building is a lot more expensive, but that’s not necessarily true."

Young says she’s already benefiting from her schoolwork by getting referrals from EcoBrokers in other states.

Models We Love
he $5.3 million catalano model has opened in the Castelli neighborhood at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club. With four bedrooms, four baths and a study, this gracious lakeside home built by Toscana Homes has 5,616 air-conditioned square feet and 7,881 total square feet of visual punch and functionality that start with Spanish Mission style and a motor courtyard. An arcaded entry with stone detail and mahogany double doors introduce a floor plan anchored by 36-inch Italian marble tile floors in the living, dining, gallery and family rooms. The knock-your-socks-off kitchen provides two islands, a natural stone range hood and a butler’s pantry.

Equally impressive are the four different outdoor living areas, which include a lanai with tongue-and-groove ceiling and a natural wood pergola accented with stucco columns and a fireplace. The living room overlooks the lake and pool and has a wood-paneled wall with masonry fireplace in marble surrounds. The formal dining room’s distinctive design includes decorative ceilings, wall niches and a wine alcove with floor-to-ceiling storage. The pool cabana has a bedroom, bath and kitchenette.

According to Robb & Stucky designer Jan Wallace, the neutral palette chosen for the furnishings, enhanced with smoky green, is the perfect complement to the home’s design elements.
WCI Communities’ The Gramercy, is priced ready to move in at $449,000 in Hampton Park at Gateway in south Fort Myers. Designed by Jerry Greenwood, the single-family home glows with golden yellows, cinnamon, off-whites and rusts, complemented by rich, dark woods.

The three-bedroom/study/two-and-a-half bath plan provides under-air square footage of 2,508. A formal entry leads to a great room where sunny gold is paired with off-white upholstery. The kitchen’s tropical theme is accented with warm wood tones and granite, and the den is fitted out in deep golds, woven blinds and brown leather lounge chairs. A cheerful guest suite includes white panel headboards and beds dressed in coral, spring green and yellow.

On the opposite side of the home, the owner’s suite has a wicker king sleigh bed and a bright coral duvet accented with lime green. There’s a sitting area, two walk-in wardrobes and an elegant bath with a Roman tub. Daring coral wallpaper adds more wow power in the dressing area of the bath.

Communities We Love
n an area where golf is king, it’s nice to be treated like royalty. Bonita Bay Group has two new gems in its crown with the inclusion of Bonita Bay and Mediterra in Links Magazine’s top 100 Premier Properties in the nation for 2007-’08. The sixth annual list, compiled from surveys completed by golf communities, considers golf course features, location, prices and amenities.

Bonita Bay has three Arthur Hills-designed courses within its 2,400-acre community and two courses by Tom Fazio off-site. Mediterra has two Fazio-designed courses on its 1,697-acre north Naples premises.

It’s not the first time this pair was paid tribute for golfing excellence. They were among Golf Magazine Living’s 50 Best Golf Communities in America in 2006 and Travel & Leisure Golf’s top 100 golf communities in America in 2006. The clubs are managed by New Leaf, Bonita Bay Group’s amenity management division.

More than half of Bonita Bay is composed of lakes, nature preserves and biking and walking paths. Three waterfront recreational areas are accessible within the community, and there’s a private beach park on the Gulf of Mexico. The Bonita Bay Club offers members access to two clubhouses, 18 tennis courts, a swim center and a fitness center, while the Marina Club provides a full-service marina, boat storage and waterfront dining.

In addition to established multi-family and single-family homes, high-rises are being built along Estero Bay by The Lutgert Companies.

Mediterra offers coach homes starting in the $600,000s, villas and single-family homes, bicycle paths and nature trails, themed neighborhood parks, a tennis, swim and fitness center and a Gulf-side beach club. The community’s landscaping and Parque Celestial have each received an award of excellence from the Florida chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The Club at Mediterra has been honored as an environmental leader in golf by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and Golf Digest magazine, and has earned Audubon International’s Silver Signature Sanctuary status.

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