By Harold Bubil Of The Herald Tribune
Published: Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 1:36 p.m
Sarasota has its West of the Trail. Bradenton has its great Northwest.
Now, North Port will have its “West of the River.”
The West Villages, boosted by Mattamy Homes $100 million commitment, is expected to give North Port a middle- and upper-middle-class appeal as it develops 20,000 homes in the next 40 years.
“Depending on how it’s done — the degree of sophistication and upgrades — it could create a boom,” said Realtor Robert Goldman, who sells South County real estate for Michael Saunders & Co. “It could go a long way to helping to make North Port what it has always hoped to be, but has not materialized.”
With preliminary price points from $250,000 to $500,000, Mattamy’s houses, villas and condominiums will be several steps above the typical house in North Port’s core area east of the Myakka River.
With Gran Paradiso, IslandWalk and Sarasota National already in place, and still developing, the West Villages is on course to become a regional real estate powerhouse in the coming decades, with both the number of homes and their increased values.
“It is west of I-75, near the Gulf,” Goldman said. “The critical item is to roll it out slowly.”Goldman said the expansion of the West Villages will have a big impact on existing home sales.
“How will that impact resales of homes in existing communities?” he asked. “In Florida, when a home is more than 15 years old, people begin to think of it as an older home or older community.”
“We feel Florida is a fast-growing part of the U.S.” said Brian Johnston, chief operating officer at Mattamy.
“It’s got not one great thing in its favor, which is weather, and a lot of baby boomers, so we see the Thomas Ranch as being part of that,” Johnson said. “It’s a big part of our future growth.”
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