E H BUILDING GROUP DIDN'T WASTE ANYTIME getting Sail Harbour at Health Park open for sales. The Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.–based builder purchased the 46-acre tract in Fort Myers, Fla., on June 1, 2004, and closed on the deal on Oct. 1. Sales started three days later, and not a moment too soon—by the end of the year the company had sold 294 units, nearly two-thirds of the available inventory of 473 townhouses.
“We had a Realtor who came in with 20 powers of attorney; he was upset he could only get 10 units,” says Bob Lesswing, director of sales for EH Building Group's Southwest Division.
The project, located less than five miles from the famed beaches of Sanibel Island, has been a “diamond in the rough,” Lesswing says. “It's a little off the beaten path.”
Still, buyers have been beating a path to Sail Harbour, which offers the largest private residences in Health Park, a health-care services “campus” operated by the local hospital district that includes a hospital, a nursing home, and a clinic. The Sail Harbour site includes lots with lake and nature-preserve views.
That's not to say the project hasn't had its challenges.
“We had to import 500,000 cubic yards of dirt to get this thing going,” Lesswing says. “The site was really low.”
Sales in the community have been strongly Realtor-driven, with heavy interest from overseas buyers, who are taking advantage of the strength of the pound and the euro to realize their dreams of owning a second home in Florida. It's an especially attractive investment for them, because whereas Florida buyers might be reeling from the run-up in pricing, it's a bargain for foreigners compared with what they would pay for a vacation house at home—if they could find anything at all.
“We have one Realtor who puts on shows in Great Britain; he's probably brought us 20 contracts,” Lesswing says. “The interesting thing is that a lot of them are not investors. They have two-month holidays, and they'll rent the units to their friends.”
Market: Fort Myers, Fla.
Project: Sail Harbour at Health Park, Fort Myers
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Cape Coral, FL.