Former NFL Player Syd Kitson Banks on Babcock Ranch, His Ambitious Sustainable Community
IT’S GAME ON for developer Syd Kitson’s sprawling Babcock Ranch, an ambitious bet on a huge, high-tech new town east of I-75 built on sustainability, solar energy and access to nature.
The ranch is located about 75 miles south of downtown Sarasota and east of I-75 on State Road 31. Babcock’s modest entrance is followed by a drive of more than a mile to Babcock’s base of operations, where an army of bulldozers and cement trucks is installing the infrastructure of what’s planned to be a community of 40,000 people on 17,000 acres straddling the Lee/Charlotte county line.
Kitson, chairman and CEO of Palm Beach Gardens-based Kitson & Partners—and a guard for the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s—purchased the ranch in 2006 for $350 million. After a 10-year hiatus because of the recession, he is full speed ahead. Babcock’s four preferred builders are scheduled to start opening models this month.