Work is progressing on the first phase of a 18,000-acre, solar powered town being developed near Fort Myers, Fla. Plans for Babcock Ranch have been under way since 2006. While the 2009 plummet in the housing market altered the original timelines for construction, the vision of developer Syd Kitson has remained unchanged. The latest plan for the project was unveiled in late April and a first-phase opening is slated for early 2017. ( Click here for an article about Kitson’s purchase of the land.)

With more than 500 trees already planted, landscaping and irrigation systems along Babcock Drive, the primary entry route to downtown Babcock Ranch, is more than 30 percent completed. Installation of the trusses for the town’s signature bridge that will showcase views of Lake Babcock and Lake Timber is underway. Paving of the streetscape from State Road 31 to the beginning of Founder’s Square in the heart of the Downtown District will be completed in early October. Utility installation at Founder’s Square is 70 percent completed. Infrastructure installation in the town’s first residential neighborhood is 95 percent completed and landscaping of the residential common areas will begin in October.

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