First Buildings Underway at Babcock Ranch: “Founders Square at the Heart of a New Hometown”
Babcock Ranch, Florida – At an informal groundbreaking ceremony today, Kitson & Partners announced an important milestone in the history of the town of Babcock Ranch: construction of the initial downtown district is officially underway. The buildings surrounding Founders Square will serve as the social and commercial hub for the first residents of Babcock Ranch, who will start moving into the innovative, solar-powered town early next year.
Plans for Phase One construction of the new environmentally friendly town in Southwest Florida captured national and international attention when they were unveiled at a Grand Reveal ceremony on Earth Day 2016. As the single largest development project currently underway in the United States, Babcock Ranch provides a strong signal that the future of real estate will be smarter, greener and healthier than ever before.
“At Babcock Ranch we are working to provide a whole new way of life with expansive opportunities to connect with nature and neighbors,” said Syd Kitson, Chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners. “We are about inclusion. Founders Square is designed to serve as a regional gathering place, drawing in our neighbors to join the fun at the heart of a vibrant new town.”
Founders Square is the permanent lakefront anchor for the downtown district that will expand southward in future phases of construction. The park provides a central gathering place and a home for a broad variety of community events – a lively place where friendships will be planted and nurtured. Features include splash fountains, shade structures, a band shell and lakefront boardwalks. Founders Square is also designed as the first of several common area “micro-communities” of solar panels. The influence of the solar strategy is seen in architectural features such as roof orientation and forms. Large shed metal roofs facing south maximize solar power collection.
Designed by Harvard Jolly Architects, all Founders Square buildings are being constructed by Skanska. The first building, located on the west side of the lakefront park, will be home to a family friendly, farm-to-table lakeside restaurant. Following in quick succession will be a discovery center with interactive tools to explore the community and offices for Kitson & Partners, and an outdoor outfitter store where residents and visitors can gear up to explore Babcock Ranch’s expansive hiking and biking trails or paddle across the freshwater lakes.
“Babcock Ranch is set to have a great impact on Florida and the surrounding region. As more communities turn to green building, Skanska continues to bring sustainable development to the projects we build,” said Fred Hames, Skanska USA Building’s General Manager and Executive Vice President for Florida. “Founders Square will serve as an integral part of Babcock Ranch’s thriving downtown and we look forward to seeing this unique community take shape.”
The buildings facing Founders Square from the south will be home to a market café coffee and ice cream shop, collaborative workspace, and an education building that will house a K-8 charter school as well as distance learning and other advanced education courses being developed through a strategic partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University. The education building is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017, followed shortly by the health and wellness center that will anchor the east side of Founders Square. Exos-Medifit and HCA West are strategic partners for this world-class facility, and CenturyLink will be connecting Babcock Ranch with a minimum of one gigabyte of fiber optic capacity to every home and business.
Take a virtual tour of Founders Square at http://view.mylumion.com/?p=vdgtvzs4.
About Kitson & Partners
Kitson & Partners is a private residential and commercial real estate investment and development company based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Kitson & Partners’ portfolio includes 1.5 million square feet of retail shopping centers, 6.8 million square feet of commercial entitlements, and 21,500 entitled residential units. With a 24-year track record and long-term institutional capital, Kitson & Partners’ operational expertise and financial strength are unparalleled in the Florida real estate development business.
Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, education, sports, data centers, life sciences, aviation and commercial. Headquartered in New York with offices in 31 metro areas, we have nearly 11,000 employees committed to being leaders in safety, project execution, sustainability, ethics and people development. In 2015, our work in building construction, civil and power/industrial construction, commercial development and infrastructure development (public-private partnerships) generated $7.1 billion in revenue. Global revenue of parent company Skanska AB, headquartered in Stockholm and listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, totaled $18.4 billion in 2015. Skanska shares are publicly traded in the U.S. on the OTC market under the symbol SKBSY through a Level I American Depository Receipt program.