Florida Road Trip Recap

5 minute read

Our trip to Florida could not have been more beautiful nor our hosts more innovative and welcoming. Each of the companies we visited demonstrated new thinking, new collaborative relationships and new solutions in home delivery. Below you’ll find a brief recap from each visit. 

Pearl Homes 

Where the microwave pulls more power than the AC and you can say things like, “I generated 97% of the energy in my house!” Here, we heard it again – consumers are willing to live in a smaller house. They have 1,500 homes in the pipeline, and the last of their 55+, 160 home community at Mirabella just closed while we were in town.

What’s New + Innovative:

  • SonnenBatterie® – a battery with AI capabilities that allows each home to store excess solar energy for use at night or to share it with the PEARL Homes Community and the entire grid. With AI tech, SonnenBatterie® can detect the chance of a storm and prep the house for it!
  • In late May/early June, their first multi-family development will be built. While most of what they showed was single family and low-rise multifamily, their units can be stacked up to 30 floors.

#NewUrbanism #ActiveLiving #SolarPower #SustainableHome #EcoLiving #HomeAutomation
 

Lakewood Ranch 

Ranked #1 multi-generational community in the U.S. in 2018 and 2019, Lakewood Ranch gave an impressive overview and insightful tour of their community. We discussed the process in which they’re addressing a 40% affordability county mandate in Phase V of development in Sarasota, the importance of a multi-builder integrated, walkable community, the need to continuously innovate and the impressive fact that over 900 babies are born there each year.

What’s New + Innovative:

  • Lakewood Ranch is partnering with Tavistock on medical facilities development and is also in the process of extending its geographic footprint through a variety of other joint ventures
  • Brain Health Innovation Lab – a partnership with ABHP and MGH, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, will lead to a decades long brain health study
  • Single family rentals are coming online soon with BB Residential and Toll Brothers set to provide 179 units and Homes by Towne set to provide another 225
  • Lifestyle + Programming is a priority in this community. They even have an Innovative Programming Executive Director

Fun Fact – Did you know that “shell mining” is the actual mining of sea shells, limestone and dolomite which are then ground to make roads…Lakewood Ranch is built on fertile, shell mining ground.

#RecreationalLiving #Education #PLACE #SFR #NewPartnerships #LECOM #HousingDiversity #Walkable #FamilyLifestyle #MultiGenerational #ActiveAdult
 

Dalton Communities 

We were honored to have Rick Dalton join us for the entire road trip and were happy to get to know him and his team. They shared an impressive amount of market intel and even entertained us with an anecdote about the NCAA basketball tournament that inadvertently boosted workforce interest in the area and in turn supports the active adult neighborhoods!

There was something about his diverse product offerings that stood out and left a lasting impression for each of us on the tour. We’ll call it the #DaltonDifference (which they’ve already coined) and chalk it up to exceptional teamwork, innovative business solutions and attention to detail.

What’s New + Innovative:

  • They serve a niche market, delivering 30-50 home pocket communities.
  • They drive attainability elsewhere through scattered lot selection. For instance, rather than buying the lot directly adjacent to amenities like a canal for boating and fishing, they will buy the one right across the street and further inland. That allows them to save significantly on land, still take advantage of curb appeal and deliver a nice home at ½ to 2/3 of the cost.

#BuildToRent #MarketIntel #ActiveLiving #Innovation #DaltonDifference #Attainability
 

Babcock Ranch 

We started with a Disney-like experience to get to know the Who, What, Where, How, and WHY of Babcock Ranch… Complete with a big screen, theater seating and a storytelling focus on the people of the first “smart town” utilizing onsite solar generation facilities. An incubator for innovation with approximately 680,000 solar panels and a10MW battery storage facility.

What’s New + Innovative:

  • Everything was different here. From the way they marketed, their attention to every tiny detail, the environmental stewardship, the list goes on…
  • You can experience the community as a visitor –they are generating interest from the surrounding area with an open community (no gate) and various amenities that are open to the public
  • 22% of their homeowners work from home
  • Innovation Neighborhood – Babcock Ranch wants to empower the homebuilder, where they are encouraged to experiment with innovative systems, construction and products. Lennar, Pulte and Meritage Homes have joined the effort. One of the builders even said that, while they’ve tested systems here and there in lab settings, “this is the only place they’ve had to deploy all of the things they are considering within a real world setting.” There will be a deconstructed home, control homes and lots of data! (Hello, future case study!)

Interesting Note: The addition of a K-8 grade school influenced their demographic to an even 50/50 (families/retirees) compared to 20/80 as previously projected.

#RenewableEnergy #SolarEnergy #ActiveLiving #ActiveLifeStyle #EnvironmentalFriendly #EcoFriendly #Energy #SolarTree

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Join us next time and follow along on LinkedIn and instagram!

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