2005 - 2009
The Early Years
On July 31, 2006, Kitson & Partners closed on the purchase of the 91,000-acre ranch from the Babcock family and then sold 73,000 acres to the state for permanent preservation. It was the largest land preservation deal in all of Florida’s history. Our plans for Babcock Ranch were to prove that smart growth and preservation can work together. In 2005 and 2006, Florida was growing at an unprecedented rate. Population growth rates hovered around 17% and incredible demand drove real estate prices through the roof. With homes selling as fast as they were built, there wasn’t much incentive for change. Smart growth in Florida was key, which we knew then and we know now. The real estate market plunged in 2007 and it delayed our timeline. But through it all, the vision for Babcock Ranch never wavered.
FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center Groundbreaking
The FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center broke ground in October 2015. The last of the more than 300,000 solar panels was installed a year later, and the 74.5MW solar generating completed testing and went online on December 31, 2016.
Kitson & Partners Groundbreaking
During ten years of engineering and planning, Kitson & Partners moved forward with work to fulfill environmental commitments including construction of a weir system to rehydrate wetlands and restore historic flow-ways. In November 2015, work on the new town finally got underway. Underground utilities including water, “grey water” and sewer lines were already in place and the first roads were ready for paving prior to the Earth Day Grand Reveal celebration on April 22, 2016.
Earth Day 2016 was a historic day for Babcock Ranch. We unveiled our plans to the world for Babcock Ranch and all it will include. Syd Kitson, the leader behind Babcock Ranch’s development, spoke about the vision and future for Babcock Ranch. Introduced as the nation’s first town to run on solar, guests were introduced to the timelines and concepts for Babcock Ranch.
Founder's Square Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking for a lakeside restaurant, Table & Tap, launched construction at Founder’s Square. The lakefront anchor of a downtown district that will extend to the south is the hub of social activity at Babcock Ranch.
Babcock Ranch Foundation Forms
The Babcock Ranch Foundation, Inc. was created in the summer of 2016 as a tax-exempt Florida non-profit to support initiatives and partnerships that enhance, enrich and create projects and activities for the benefit of the greater Babcock Ranch Community, Babcock Ranch Preserve, and the broader Southwest Florida region.
Model Homes Groundbreaking
Fox Premier Builders, Stock Development, Florida Lifestyle Homes, and Homes by Towne joined at Babcock Ranch to break ground on their model homes in Babock Ranch’s first neighborhood, Lake Timber.
Babcock Neighborhood School Groundbreaking
Community leaders joined future students to launch construction of Babcock Neighborhood School. The public K-8 charter school unveiled plans for an innovation great STEAM curriculum.
Founder's Square and Model Homes Open
Founder’s Square opened to the public in March 2017. More than 15,000 people turned out for the first annual Founder’s Festival held March 11-12.