THE NEIGHBORHOOD HAS REALLY grown up over the years. When the navy announced it was going to close the training base, people around here were nervous about what would happen to the economy when the military pulled out. It's a choice piece of land, though: a short drive to downtown and the airport, what developers call “infill”—only this one's 1,100 acres! The company that submitted the winning proposal wanted to develop a community that would stand the test of time, so it combed old Orlando neighborhoods from the 1940s and came up with what our builder called pretty strict guidelines for the home's design, materials, and colors. I remember him saying that he and some of the other builders were a little offended by a developer telling them how to build, but he's since come around (he says the experience made him a better builder and that the rules put everyone on a level playing field).
You only have to look at our house now, and those of our neighbors, to see how right they were to dictate housing styles—even down to the smallest exterior details. I mean, it's not like every home is the same. Ours is stucco, but there's a mix of styles up and down our street. They did a good job building parks and water features, too; there's even a little shopping and office area just down the street from us, which also seems as if it's been there forever. People have almost forgotten about the old naval base that used to be here.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.