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Construction on huge Venice development under way

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Posted: Friday, September 7, 2012 10:29 am

SARASOTA COUNTY - The tent was full Friday as hundreds came to check out Grand Palm. The few model homes now in place are the first six of what is expected to be 1,999. Nearly a decade in the making, developer Pat Neal says they're ready.

"This is the beginning of the big boom. People have postponed their purchase since 2005 and their biological clock is ticking," says Neal.

Green-certified homes ranging in prices will be built in the project along Center Road and River Roads. It will include 25 parks, miles of trails, community pools, and courts -- all while linking wildlife corridors near the Myakka River. "We have preserved all of the natural areas. Nine acres of wildlife corridors. All of the wetlands so we will be replenishing the ground water aquifer."

Neal says about 230 of the 1,000 acres are preserved there. It's the first development under the county's 2050 plan to take shape, with talks having begun in the late 90's. 2050 promises better planned communities to reduce urban sprawl. Some developers have said it's too restricting and some environmental groups says not enough. "This is probably the test for 2050. It did take too long but we did learn a lot from this community," says County Commissioner Christine Robinson.

When it's complete, Neal says the property will be worth more than $800 million. Generating more than $11 million in property taxes for the county annually. This after $22 million dollars initially in impact fees. "We are excited to have this project here in south Sarasota County. It's a sign of good things to come and it's a sign of jobs."

The development is expected take a dozen years to complete while creating hundreds of jobs. "We are one of our regions largest employers. We are going to provide economic benefits in that way as well as where people will be able to live," says Neal.

Ready for young families and the boomers. "Buy now."

Recent reports indicate the housing market is in recovery. Affordability and historically low interest rates leading the way. Especially for new homes which come with warranties.

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