The Villages continues to grow

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. 

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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