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MIAMI-The developer of a recently purchased 969-acre parcel of land near Naples, FL tells GlobeSt.com that his plans for the land include 500-unit townhouse project. Located in Lee County’s Benita Springs the townhouses are expected to begin development at the end of the first quarter of 2003, says Anthony Solomon, VP of Naples-based The Ronto Group, the project’s developer.

The selection of a general contractor for the townhouse project has not yet been finalized, says Solomon.

Specific uses for the planned 120,000 sf of commercial space include convenience shops, retail and office space. This portion of the project is currently being called The Village Center and also will be located in Benita Springs. Plans call for office and residential space to be above or interspersed within The Village Center, Solomon tells GlobeSt.com, adding that the type of residential in this area will be live-work space, or apartments/condos above retail or in separate buildings.

The existing 18-hole golf course at Palmira Golf & Country Club in Benita Springs will be expanded to 27 holes, he states. The country club already has a 30,000-sf clubhouse and an 8,000-sf fitness and wellness facility with resort-style pools.

In addition, the property, which falls in both Lee and Collier counties, is zoned for a total of 2,893 residential units–1,290 upscale residential units in Lee County and 1,603 upscale residential units in Collier County. The Collier County residences will be either a golf course community or primary residential use, single-family homes, Solomon says.

“I just think that obviously [the area] has just exploded, and that seems to be the way development is going,” he adds.

Parklands Development LP of Naples recently bought the land from trustees Dewey Garguilo and Michael Procacci of Southwest Florida for $42 million in a deal brokered by Rich Sommerville of Coldwell Banker’s Naples office.

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