In 2006, developer Syd Kitson released plans for Babcock Ranch, a massive community to consist of 19,500 homes powered exclusively by the sun (but void of any unsightly solar systems on roofs).
The original timeline for the 18,000-acre development near Fort Myers, Fla., was stymied by the plummet of the housing market in 2009, but Kitson's vision remained unchanged, and the development is back on track. The latest plan for the project was unveiled in late April and a first-phase opening is slated for early 2017. (Click here for an article about Kitson’s purchase of the land.)
Instead of individual PV panels, the community and the broader region will be supplied with solar energy via Florida Power and Light’s 74.5 megawatt Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center. Expected to be operational by the end of the year, the 443-acre solar power plant will be located in the Babcock Ranch and will supply more than enough energy to meet residents’ needs, according to project planners.
When the town is complete, it will comprise 19,500 residences and a total of 6 million square feet of commercial and community space. More than half of the total land will be dedicated for green spaces, lakes and nature trails. Ultimately, approximately 50,000 residents will call Babcock Ranch home.
As the largest development project currently underway in the United States, Babcock Ranch will be one of the most sustainable and health-focused towns in the U.S., according to project planners.
“Babcock Ranch will exemplify what it means to be a town of the future, offering residents a highly unique balance of the most technologically advanced infrastructure and amenities, with ready access to a rich natural environment and a true sense of community,” says Kitson, CEO of West Palm Beach, Fla.-based development firm Kitson & Partners.
Fittingly, Babcock Ranch held its grand reveal on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. Their video below takes a deeper dive into the development's plans and features.
Phase 1 development encompasses 1,100 single-family and multifamily residences and a downtown area with a wellness center, café, restaurant, and outdoor outfitter shop. According to a Palm Beach Post interview with Kitson, construction is underway on the solar plant that will power the community, Babcock Ranch should welcome its first residents in 2017.
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