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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

LAKELAND, FL-Locally based Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate recently negotiated four land sales in central Florida totaling more than $37 million. CBC broker Dean Saunders spoke with GlobeSt.com about the details of the four sales, which all fall under Saunders Real Estate’s specialty of working with owners of land in conservation.

Just south of Lake Wales in Polk County, Saunders has completed a 3,000-acre conservation easement between the J.K. Stuart Trust and Stuart family and the USDA. Land on the property would flood seasonally, Saunders tells GlobeSt.com, and will now be part of the Wetlands Reserve Program to store water or re-hydrate what was once wetlands. The remainder of the rights on the land, which total 3,600 acres, are also in negotiation to be sold to Polk County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, also called Swiftmud. The total value of the deal is $11 million.

In Kenansville, FL Saunders represented LLR-11 Limited Partnership in an $11.6-million deal with the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida (Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission). The 1,656 acres of property, located next to the Three Lakes Wildlife area, will be an expansion of state’s land, which is used publicly for hunting. Sauders also represented the FF&WCC in the deal.

In a related deal, CBC broker Brian Beasley represented seller Fred Gutwein Family Citrus LLC in a transaction of a 1,046-acre citrus farm in Hendry County. Sweetwater Real Estate represented the buyer, Corkscrew Partners, in the $5-million deal.

Saunders also recently represented a local rancher/developer near Lake Hancock in northern Polk County in a $9.5-million deal. The 1,056-acreage development was purchased by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which is working on storing more water in Lake Hancock in order to provide more predictable flow into the nearby Peace River.

“The state of Florida has been a leader in conservation for many years and those of us who are property rights advocates applaud the state’s approach,” says Saunders, a former member of the Florida Legislature. “It is achieving a protection of individual property rights, as well as protecting land.”

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