The villages may be near their targeted build-out of 100,000 residents, but Sumter and Marion County, the areas surrounding the Villages, are also continuing to grow. Satellite communities have been emerging on the outskirts of the development. These communities are not being built for senior residents but rather for professionals whose services are highly coveted by the Villages’ residents; health care and finance are the main two services in high demand. Bartow McDonald IV believes the Villages functions as an economic catalyst that is unprecedented with the exception of Disney World. McDonald IV said, “In the case of The Villages, they have all three of those (key drivers). You have significant density, large disposable income and it’s really easy to come and go.”
The development will be enhancing its entertainment capabilities with the addition of the Sharon Performing Arts center, which will seat more than 1,000 people. Patti Lupone, a Broadway star, is set to perform for a sellout crowd on April 30th. Also, the Census Bureau estimates the Villages surpassed 100,000 residents in 2012 and will reach 114,350 in July 2014, making it the fastest growing metropolitan area in the U.S. However, officials from the Village did not respond to this report. Sean Snaith, the director of economic competitiveness at UCF, stated that the Villages were not hit as hard by the economic downturn compared to the rest of Florida. He believes the low cost of living and laid-back lifestyle are two main reasons senior residents are migrating to the Villages from the coastal areas.
Steady growth over the years has prompted Villages officials to look for expansions. Sumter County appears to obtain the most potential for development. An area of 1,200 acres, containing mostly undeveloped land, lies on the outskirt of the villages. More importantly, 400 of those acres are owned by the Villages or companies that have ownership in the community. New developments or family communities have begun construction. Snaith said he would not be surprised to see the Villages expand by increasing their boundaries in addition to the development of more satellite communities. He added, “I think we’re really just on the cusp of (the) baby boom generation as far as retirements are concerned,” Many of the baby boomers will migrate to the Villages for their retirements.