Babcock Ranch, America’s first solar city, shows—and sells.
School was in session for viewers around the world who tuned in this summer to the half-hour documentary about Babcock Ranch produced by NBC Nightly News Films, the network’s longform digital documentary series. In an exploration of America’s first solar city, the film serves as a kind of “how-to” in creating a sustainable community, from energy systems to building construction to ecological preservation and balance.
The NBC documentary arrives in the wake of other national and international news stories about Babcock Ranch by organizations like PBS, Fast Company and AFP (Agence France Press, with an audience that reaches throughout Europe, Russia and China). The local success of Babcock Ranch has become a worldwide story, a global model and beacon for sustainability in a world focused more intently than ever on seeking solutions to the urgent need for sustainability.
For Syd Kitson, the visionary CEO and Chairman of Kitson and Partners, developers of Babcock Ranch, the attention is rewarding not least in the fact that it allows Babcock Ranch to serve as a model for others to follow. “We want to exemplify what it means to be a town of the future, to be a living laboratory for new technology.”
Another important reward: As Babcock Ranch shows the world the way forward in sustainability, it is also showcasing the talents and achievements of local and regional collaborators: Florida Power & Light is able to display its groundbreaking efforts in solar generation; local knowledge leaders like Dr. Jennifer Languell in green construction and Dr. Bill Hammond in ecology are able to share their expertise; and the community-minded people and businesses of Charlotte County are able to demonstrate their deep and forward-thinking commitment to a better world.
“We’re pleased that the spotlight on Babcock Ranch has also brought a welcome spotlight to the Charlotte County community and our businesses here,” notes Lucienne Pears, Babcock Ranch Vice President of Economic and Business Development.
As the good news about Babcock Ranch spreads, more good news appears ahead in rapidly rising home sales.
900 homes in less than three years
Even in the midst of the pandemic, the development’s robust home sales continue to rise, up 50% this year alone, for a total of 900 homes since startup less than three years ago. It’s a 73% year-over-year increase, Pears notes. Earlier this summer, the development ranked 39th on RCLCO Real Estate Advisors’ list of the nation’s top-selling master planned communities. That’s in addition to accolades in publications such as ideal-LIVING, which named the development the nation’s “Best Eco-Friendly Community.”
While new residents are drawn by sustainability and community, they are also attracted to the wholistic nature of the development and its comprehensive live-thrive paradigm incorporating completeness in residential, recreation, retail and dining and professional opportunity, all within walkable spaces, with automated transport on the way.
The vital heart of the development, Founder’s Square, is welcoming in the way of old-fashioned downtowns, yet with all the 21st century amenities that make life simple and rewarding, with lakeside boardwalk area, a bandshell for live entertainment and a splash pad fountain, along with an inviting menu of restaurant and retail establishments, co-working office space and a Healthy Life Center. At the Crescent B Commons, construction is underway for a Publix grocery, which will serve as anchor for the 82,64-square-foot shopping center.
As Babcock Ranch moves toward its ultimate goal of 50,000 residents, the development is focused on attracting a vibrant demographic mix. That meant constructing two good schools early on, and continuing to build the business and professional component toward making Babcock Ranch an essential and rewarding place to work. Moving toward that goal, Pears has the ability to permit 6 million square feet of space. “We have real flexibility in building and parceling. We’re ready to accommodate the need for shovel-ready tracts or long-term commitments,” she says.
Babcock Ranch and Charlotte County are rising, and shining, together.