The West Villages – a huge Project!
The West Villages, a 10,000-acre improvement district, is going to be huge! Yes, very huge indeed. North Port always wanted to expand west of the River – the Myakka River – but they never got the chance. Now the time is right.
North Port’s image was always that of a lower class, cheaper housing community. The City has always wanted to escape that corner and boost this „middle class/upper middle class“ appeal. But there were only small local builders who could not make a significant impact.
Basically “out of the blue” comes help. Mattamy Homes, a successful Canadian home builder, will make this dream come true. North Port will finally get more expensive homes and a city center. Thanks to the Canadians, “ey.” Do they really say that?
The Mattamy Homes people looked around and found “some money” in their petty cash. They decided to do something big with it – really BIG. For a little under $87 million, Canada’s largest builder bought 75% of the former Thomas Ranch.
Where is the former Thomas Ranch? Well, the land is off US 41 between South Venice and North Port (check out the map). Once completed, it will stretch almost all the way south to Englewood. Yes, that is huge!
Along with this stretch, homes in existing new development are already popping up like mushrooms after a warm summer rain. Sarasota National, Gran Paradiso and Island Walk are already very active communities and they adding new homes on an almost daily basis. They all have a Venice address and zip code.
Mattamy Homes plan to dwarf the existing communities; with a bigger picture in mind. 5,000 – 6,000 homes are already well on their way, and another 11,000 properties are the next goal. This is still short of what is coming next. Eventually, they will be adding some 20,000+ new homes. Now, that is big. The newest community is Renaissance at the West Villages.
They are not daydreaming, though. The time frame Mattamy came up with seems to be pretty realistic. Estimates say that the project is going to take 20 – 30, maybe 40, years until completion. At least 2 generations of home builders and construction people will have a secure job for many years to come.
Isn’t it beautiful when somebody can tell people “hey, my granddad installed that roof over there.”
The new single family residences will add perhaps 70,000 people or more to that region. Once finished, the West Villages of North Port will be larger than the cities of Sarasota and Venice combined. However, they are working on new communities as well. Therefore, it will be a never ending race.
Two-thirds of the homes will be in the city limit of North Port, the other third will be in Sarasota County. Does it make a difference? Not really, but some people would prefer to be a part of Venice because it “sounds” better than North Port. Oh, get over it, people……
In fact, when the US postal service asked the residents of Island Walk whether they wanted a North Port or a Venice address, they decided to go with a Venice address. At least in a letter, it looks as if Island Walk is an extension of Venice, but it is not.
The West Villages will have more than condos, townhouses, villas and single family homes. Commercial development is a big part of the next phases. A part of the business activity will be along US 41, but there will be another corridor parallel to River Road. 3 million square feet of commercial space has already been approved with more to come.
The new village is not designed like a big pile of brick and mortar; with nature well-integrated, nature will even play a major role. Even the Myakka River will be a part of the new community. The River Club is designed to give access to the river. Residents of this club will be able to explore this beautiful stretch of Florida’s nature with non-motorized boats. And they will definitely love it! The Myakka River is an extraordinary scenic trip where you can literally shake hands with gators and other wildlife, but always count your fingers afterward!
The former ranch has already a 30-acre sparkling lake in place which is already an eye-catcher. Other lakes and ponds are also in their planning phase. Big islands with nature preserves will also provide this typical “Florida feeling.” Nature preserves are exactly the reason why so many people love Florida.
70,000+ is the magic number! Yes, seventy thousand residents – that sounds like an awful lot of people. Yes, it does. So, what about the traffic? You may ask.
Well, that was actually one of the main reasons while planning took so long. Developing a well-functioning infrastructure with roads, walkways, water/sewer and power lines is always the hardest task. There are many examples out there, mainly old communities, that show how NOT to do it.
A well screwed up infrastructure is almost impossible to fix. Therefore, extensive planning should always be done before you dig the first hole.
What is the conclusion they came up with? A web of the main roads is going to divert the traffic into several directions. US 41 will remain the main traffic artery. Four lanes on US 41 will guarantee a fast west – east (and vice versa) passage. A big roundabout will probably eliminate waiting time associated with traffic lights. It is so boring staring at those red lights, right?
Manasota Beach Road, which runs parallel to US 41 (but further south), will be widened. River Road, the West Villages Parkway and SR 776 are designed to divert the traffic in north-south bound directions and flush the traffic out to I-75.
In about 20 years many motorized vehicles will be electric cars. That will reduce noise and pollution significantly and many cities will become more livable again.
What is the price range for homes in the West Villages? Right now homes are selling from the mid $200’s, and they go up well into the $1 million and beyond. The price indicates that the West Villages are not exactly going to be a part of the “affordable housing” program. With a medium price level in the mid $300’s the village is exactly doing what it was meant to do – attracting middle-class and upper-middle-class residents to the North Port area.
Contact us below if you have further questions or if you want to schedule a tour of homes. Whether you consider new or resale homes, we are committed to guiding you to an educated decision.