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January 19,2017 - First home sold at Babcock Ranch
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First home sold at Babcock Ranch

The first home of the nearly 20,000 planned for Babcock Ranch development in Charlotte County has sold.

Master Developer Kitson & Partners announced that Sarasota-based Homes By Towne has processed the first contract to Richard and Robin Kinley from Acworth, Georgia for construction of a 2,372-square-foot “Heirloom” floor plan in the Lake Timber neighborhood.

A total of 18 model homes by five different builders will be available for viewing by the end of February.

The 1,100 homes at Lake Timber are the first of 19,500 residential units that will be constructed in the new, solar-powered town.

The blended residential and business development is being built just north of the Lee-Charlotte county line, near State Road 31. At buildout, Babcock Ranch expects to be home to 50,000 residents, nearly the same population as the city of Fort Myers.

A native of a small town in Delaware, Richard Kinley is a technical field engineer for Medtronic, the world’s largest standalone medical technology development company, according to a press release from the developers. Robin is a retired French teacher turned professional quilter who was raised in Pembroke Pines, the release states.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Kinleys to Babcock Ranch,” Kitson & Partners’ Chairman and CEO Syd Kitson said in the release. “It is gratifying to know the Kinleys and others from all ages and backgrounds share our commitment to sustainability, a healthy walkable lifestyle, and to enjoying a place where neighbors will know one another on a personal level as they experience living in nature on a day-to-day basis.  We look forward to continuing to create a place where the Kinleys and their neighbors can enjoy a better life.”

The Kinley’s interest in Babcock Ranch dates to 2006, the year Kitson & Partners completed its purchase of 91,000 acres from the Babcock family and the subsequent sale of 73,000 acres to the state of Florida in the largest land preservation purchase in the State’s history. The Kinleys were initially taken by the notion of a solar-powered town.

“I am an avid reader of tech blogs and in 2006 I read about this idea of a solar city and thought it was fascinating,” Richard Kinley said in the release. “As you can see by my Tesla hat, I am an early adopter of new technology.  So the idea was fascinating to me and I wanted to keep track of it and then lost track of it for a number of years during the recession. Then this year, as we contemplated moving out of Georgia, I saw Babcock Ranch again. I knew if I were to move, I would have to see this place and it would likely be the place.”

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