Minto Communities has bought itself another signature piece of Florida land, 2,300 acres of pristine water-laced land within four miles of Naples, adding to its growing portfolio of communities in the Sunshine State.

The Canadian-owned company announced Tuesday its agreement to buy the land called Sabal Bay, which comes with entitlements to build more than 1,600 homes. The seller is Collier Enterprises, part of the Barron Gift Collier family that once owned a massive chunk of Florida and was the name sake for Collier County. A purchase price has not been released.

The land touches Naples Bay, is adjacent to a marina and not far from the beach. More than half of the development will be dedicated to natural habitat that will include a network of large lakes, acres of nature preserve areas, and miles of hiking, biking, walking, and kayak trails.

“The preservation of the natural beauty that Collier County was founded on remains paramount in Collier Enterprises' development goals today,” said Patrick Utter, vice president of commercial real estate for Collier Enterprises, in the announcement. “We searched long and hard for the right developer/builder and are very pleased to share the hallmarks of our vision, careful planning, stewardship, and sensitive development with Minto.”

For Minto, the purchase represents the latest in a buying binge that has spread beyond the Southeast portion of the state, where Minto has built some 20,000 homes in Florida over more than 34 years. Land-constrained Southeast Florida, bordered by the Everglades, has run out of the large plots of land Minto prefers to develop and then build out into its signature communities. Its acclaimed Olympia master planned community in Wellington, Fla., launched in 2001, is nearing close-out, with 80 home sites remaining of the original 1,762.
“Sabal Bay represents one of the finest development opportunities on the west coast of Florida and is a significant and important acquisition as part of Minto’s strategic growth plan throughout the state,” said Michael Belmont, president of Minto Communities Florida. It’s the third new community Minto has purchased in the Naples market this year, he adds.

The company purchased 142 lots in Twin Eagles in Naples, and an infill parcel called Bonita Isles in Bonita Springs.

Minto has also been buying land in the Tampa and Orlando areas. It purchased Sun City Center in the Tampa area from WCI Communities as it divested itself of non-core assets in the wake of its bankruptcy. It is developing a waterfront community in Bradenton, Fla., that it bought from St. Joe, which was also retreating to its core business in the Florida Panhandle. And now it’s moving into the Orlando area, purchasing lots from Tavistock in its new Laureate Park community near Orlando’s soon-to-boom Medical Center area.

Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Naples, FL, Miami, FL, Tampa, FL, Orlando, FL.