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Realty Check

A Boost for Local Real Estate

One bright spot in the current residential real estate market is the imminent launch of a commercial project—a science and technology park planned for 24.6 acres at Southwest Florida International Airport.

Currently nearing the end of a yearlong permitting process, the Madden Research Loop is scheduled for groundbreaking on the first of three buildings in its phase one development this summer. Lee County leaders hail the project, which will rise along Daniels Parkway, as a much-needed shot in the arm to the construction industry and a welcome boon to the housing market.

When the John Madden Co. began seeking initial approvals last spring, Michael Reitmann, executive vice president of the Lee Building Industry Association, said the types of businesses that will occupy the development will attract well-paid, sophisticated personnel. “That kind of work force will not only put a dent in the current oversupply of housing,” he said, “but will spur the development of new construction.”

Stephen Brown Jr., director of project development for the Denver-based developer, says the first phase will consist of two three-story buildings of 60,000 square feet, one of which will get underway by early summer, and the second, three or four months later. A six-story building of 120,000 square feet is slated for 2010.

Brown says the uncertainty of construction completion dates has kept potential tenants still in the talking stages, but the state of the economy has not been an inhibiting factor.

“We are working with long-term planners here, who are looking to the future,” he states. “And in fact, the present economy is more of a plus than a negative. The lower cost of construction and affordable housing prices for employees are attractive to prospective tenants.”

The John Madden Co. created Gulf Coast Technology Center to operate the airport project and invested $500,000 in the initial process. It has an option on 100 more acres at the airport. Brown expects the first building to generate 200 jobs.



Divco’s madrid at lely Resort is designed not only for the pleasure of those who live there, but also for the ease of those who visit. “The floor plan seamlessly blends the indoor and outdoor living areas, making the Madrid ideally suited for casual entertaining,” notes Claudine Léger-Wetzel, vice president of sales and marketing for Stock Development, developer of Lely Resort.

The centrally located kitchen, accented with crown molding, wood beams and arched doorways, opens to an informal dinette and family room that overlook the pool and provide lake and fairway vistas. Léger-Wetzel says Robb & Stucky’s subtle palette of creams, light browns and amber hues highlighted with splashes of orange creates a light, airy, island feel.

The master suite opens to the covered lanai where the pool and spa are surrounded by a sundeck with an outdoor kitchen and rock waterfall. A circular brick paver drive provides access to a three-car garage. With four bedrooms, three full and two half baths, the Madrid offers 3,606 square feet under air and 5,065 total square feet. It is priced, furnished, at $1,499,000.


Pine Ridge

Premier Properties

Legendary neapolitan george Huntoon began marketing the Pine Ridge community for the Colliers in the 1950s, when most of the county was woods. The area surrounding it now teems with urban amenities, but Pine Ridge is still composed of winding, tree-lined roads and multi-acre lots that retain its original character. Once a horse lovers’ haven, before Ocala beckoned, the ungated community is now an amalgam of old structures of various vintage and brand new upscale edifices lured to the spot by its high elevation, privacy potential and laissez-faire administration.

Number of properties: 550

Number of sales 2008 to 2009: 23

Price range: $63,000 to $2,275,000

Number of sales February 2007 to February 2008: 16

Price range: $150,000 to $2,750,000

On the market: Built in 2005, this two-story estate set on 3.3 acres (above) features hand-painted, vaulted ceilings and a grand foyer reminiscent of a lobby in a European boutique hotel. Ornate grillwork trims the doors of the wine room, located off a dining room with extraordinary personality. A huge lanai and pool area encourage outdoor entertaining. Karen Van Arsdale of Premier Properties reports the price of the four-bedroom/den/six full, three half-bath home is $8,950,000.

Recent sale: A two-story, French Provincial home on Hickory Road is designed with a stone turret in its facade and every creature comfort in its 8,357-square-foot floor plan. Three fireplaces and a wine room are among the assets of the six-bedroom home with study, seven full baths and two half baths. In 2003, the original home and lot sold for $999,000. Glenn Bradley, of Coldwell Banker Previews International, says this home, built in 2006, sold last October for $2,275,900.

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