By Heather Turk
A new real estate development in southwest Florida is unlike anything the world has ever seen.
Bordered by the 73,000-acre Babcock Ranch Preserve and the 65,000-acre Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area, Babcock Ranch is the world’s first town primarily powered by the sun. Hailed as the most sustainable, most innovative and health-focused new town in the country, Babcock Ranch comprises nearly 18,000 acres, making it roughly the size of Manhattan.
Phase 1 development, which began opening in February, will have a total of 1,100 residences and a downtown district that’s home to a state-of-the-art wellness center, market café, lakeside restaurant, educational facilities and an outdoor outfitters. Residents and visitors alike can gear up here to explore the town’s expansive lakes and trail system. When complete, Babcock Ranch will not only have 19,500 residences and an engaging downtown area to host community concerts, farmers’ markets, festivals and art fairs, but also six million square feet of commercial and community space while still dedicating more than half of its total land for green spaces, lakes and nature trails.
The FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, a 443-acre solar plant located within Babcock Ranch, will supply the community and its broader region with 74.5-megawatts of clean, renewable power generated by the sunshine. The town’s potable water supply, meanwhile, comes from wells on property that draw from an aquifer and require only minimal treatment to meet drinking water standards.
Located approximately 25 minutes from Punta Gorda Airport, Allegiant passengers visiting the area can discover more about Babcock Ranch in its Woodlea Hall building, home to the community’s Discovery Center. They can also rent a canoe or kayak at Curry Creek Outfitters for a day out on one of its freshwater lakes, peddle around the town on a bicycle rental or check out one of its first nature trails.
Table & Tap, Babcock Ranch’s lakefront restaurant, is now open to the public, too. The 4,300-square-foot, locally sourced restaurant serves free-range, non-GMO proteins from Bonita Springs’ Circle C Farm as well as produce from Collier County’s Oakes Farms. A great place to socialize, visitors can gather around a massive oak transported to the site from the wild in the restaurant’s 35-seat beer garden or sit around a fire pit on the lakefront lawn while playing giant chess and checker sets or an adult-size version of Connect Four.
For more on this game-changing community, visit babcockranch.com.