Courtesy Tavistock Development Co.

Rob Adams has spent his entire career in residential real estate. He first started on the home builder side, including time on the sales floor, and now has spent nearly 20 years with Tavistock Development Co., a developer focused on creating residential communities of the future.

Adams will be speaking during the Innovating for the Future + Connectivity for Tomorrow panel at Future Place from Builder and parent company Zonda, Oct. 3 and 4, in Dallas. In the session, hear from Adams and co-speaker Tony Ruggeri on how the most innovative communities are embracing digital infrastructure, experimenting with micro-mobility, and building an ecosystem of partners that attracts top companies and talent.

Ahead of the event, Adams gave BUILDER a sneak peek of some of the topics that will be explored during his discussion.

BUILDER: Tell us a little bit about Tavistock Development and your role at the company.

Adams: Tavistock Development Co. specializes in the thoughtful planning, design, and construction of new, innovative property developments. My role focuses on the for-sale housing components of our business. This largely involves work on our large master-planned communities Lake Nona and Sunbridge. I touch all aspects of that business, from feasibility, community design, builder lot sales programs all the way through to HOA management.

BUILDER: What is the history of Lake Nona?

Adams: Lake Nona was first developed in the mid-1980s, and Tavistock acquired the property in 1996. Lake Nona was first known for its renowned championship golf course, but it has grown to include nearly 20,000 residents in 11 neighborhoods, millions of square feet of commercial space, the largest tennis facility in the North America, and dozens of art installations.

BUILDER: How does Lake Nona differ from other master-planned communities? Why has it been labeled the “future of cities?”

Adams: What sets Lake Nona apart is the very real commitment by Tavistock Development to create a place that inspires potential through innovation collaboration. That focus on collaboration has brought in commercial partners like the U.S. Tennis Association, KPMG, and most recently Disney.

BUILDER: In developing the master plan, what community aspects were the most important?

Adams: Creating a place that would thrive in the future has been core to the development of the master plan. That means having great road infrastructure, but also data infrastructure. It’s meant thinking about world-class education from preschool to post-graduate level right here on site to provide talent for on-site employment. And it’s meant making sure there is active and compelling programming, with interesting events just about every day.

BUILDER: What’s the most innovative feature in Lake Nona?

Adams: I would be hard-pressed to think of the most innovative feature here. And this may sound trite, but I think it’s a combination of so many interesting and innovative features that makes Lake Nona what it is.

BUILDER: What challenges arise in designing a forward-thinking community? How should developers navigate those issues?

Adams: The challenge in development always seems to be balancing today’s feasibility against a larger future opportunity. And our commitment to infrastructure in front of the need has been a real success story for Lake Nona. An early example was our ability to find a way to construct a parking structure with integrated public art in our town center. That decision, though not inexpensive, accelerated the density of the commercial development and the creation of a true sense of place.

BUILDER: Where does development stand today? What’s coming?

Adams: I think we are in a great place, development wise, here. We are fortunate to have created a special place at which people see real value. We will continue to deliver neighborhoods and have strong home builders, and I am excited about how our product will diversify and densify in the coming years.