EVEN FROM THE OUTSIDE, THE WELCOME CENTER FOR WILDERNESS Lake Preserve in Land O' Lakes, Fla., looks and feels different from the typical Gulf Coast sales center. In fact, the 2,130-square-foot building sets the stage for a mountain resort theme that extends through a ranger station (the actual entry into the development), a lodge complex, and the homes and open spaces that encompass the 680-acre project.
The theme intensifies inside the Welcome Center with an ingenious and thoughtful approach to entertaining the kids while mom and dad get the sales pitch. Among the topo map, help desks, pair of 18-foot Duratrans panels, exposed timbers, and copper detailing is a steel-framed canvas camp tent, complete with a sleeping bag and a DVD player to occupy the young ones. When they tire of that treat, a fenced pier over one of the project's lakes encourages them to feed the wildlife--a harbinger of what they'll find at the project's nature center.
“It was kind of a V-8 moment,” says Dawn Michelle Evans, director of marketing for The Evans Group, the master planner and architect, regarding the tent. “It was a unique opportunity with the theme, and we had the space to do it.” With the kids' imaginations extending further than a box of Lego toys in the corner, the sales staff has a better opportunity to tell the project story and move toward closing the deal. “If we can get 15 to 20 minutes with the adults, we'll blow their socks off,” says Janice Snow, director of community relations at Wilderness Lake Preserve for Tampa, Fla.–based developer Lindell Investments II. “Even if it's only five minutes, their socks still need pulling up.” In 18 months, with prices beginning in the $120s, Wilderness Lake Preserve sold 290 of its first 370 lots toward a build-out of 950 homes.
Campaign Details Program: Sales office; Size: 2,130 square feet; Cost: $140 per square foot; Project: Wilderness Lake Preserve, Land O' Lakes, Fla.; Developer: Lindell Investments II, Tampa, Fla.; Architect: The Evans Group, Orlando, Fla.; Interior designer: Evcom, a division of The Evans Group, Orlando; Landscape designer: Enviroscape, a division of The Evans Group, Orlando; Advertising agency: United Landmark Associates, Tampa
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.