On April 7, the conference room at the office of the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors (MIAAOR) was the site for a Lunch and Learn session with Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Chairman Donna Fiala and Mark P. Strain, Chief Hearing Examiner and Chairman of the County Planning Committee. The presentation provided an abundance of information of development and redevelopment trends in Collier County.
Dawn Norgren of Island Title 5 Star Agency, LLC welcomed the group with a brief discussion of real estate trends in the area. The general consensus was that sales were down this season, as compared with 2015, but were still ahead of 2014. She predicted “an interesting summer” for the real estate market, foreseeing stability, and noting that summer buyers typically look toward mortgaging their purchases more frequently than the buyers during season.
Strain and Fiala began their presentation with news that the Naples- Immokalee-Marco Island area has been named #1 for the entire USA in the Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being: 2015 Community Rankings. Collier County is seen as a happy, healthy place to live. We can all rejoice in that good news!
Other news from the Lunch and Learn included:
Fiala and Strain informed the group that out of Collier County’s total acreage (1,475,200), an impressive 77% is protected from development (1,142,380 acres). The residential projects of Hacienda Lakes, Isles of Collier, Treviso Bay, Winding Cypress, Artesia, Naples Reserve, and Fiddler’s Creek all have areas of land set aside for preservation. So despite Collier County’s rapid and extensive growth, Southwest Florida’s gift of nature will always be preserved.
At present, there are 53 Senior Living locations in Collier County with a total of 6,974 beds. Currently, the largest age group in the county’s population consists of 65-69 year olds.
The 40-year average of year-to-year property value increase is 9.47%. Our employment trend is healthy. In the county’s coastal areas (including Marco Island), the median household income is $68,797 with the average household income being $107,335. In the inland areas, the median household income is $51,714 with theaverage household income at $71,415.
For the residents of Marco Island, the increase in commercial development is most obvious at the intersection of Routes 41 and 951 with the new shopping center that includes Stein Mart, Marshall’s, and soon Petsmart, Michael’s, Ross, and ULTA. Nearby will be Hobby Lobby, WaWa, and Restaurant Row that will feature Starbuck’s and the Texas Roadhouse Grill.
There are plans for land expansion and terminal modification of the Marco Island Executive Airport to meet FAA requirements.
New plans for the Gateway Triangle (Davis Boulevard) include a Porsche dealership and boutique hotel. The Courthouse Shadows area will feature a remodeled Walmart and brand new Sam’s Club.
Three of the 91 existing golf courses in Collier County have started a process for their own elimination. These courses are at sites that are not part of PUDs (planned unit developments). Evergreen, Golden Gate, and Lakewood Golf Courses are exploring proposals to convert their golf courses to residential dwellings. The BCC will examine these proposals. Homeowners in these areas, who purchased homes with golf course views, have expressed concern.
The sport of pickleball has become increasingly popular, as we see here in Collier County. Naples will host the U.S. Open Pickleball Championship from April 26 – May 1st. Participants will be traveling to Naples from all over the world for this event. CBS Sports will be providing coverage.
Collier County is proving itself to be a mover and a shaker in the State of Florida. In closing, Commissioner Fiala shared some recently received words of praise with the audience. On March 8, 2016, Reinhold Schmieding, the founder and President of Arthrex (a medical device manufacturing company in North Naples, originally based in Munich, Germany) remarked to the Board of County Commissioners, “We originally came here because of the quality of life the community offers for employees, for our visitors, and for my family. That continues to be one of the primary reasons we prosper in this area. Keep doing that great work, protect the quality of our community! That’s our little advantage we have over other areas.”