Rich Visitor Experience at Babcock Ranch
Even though it is literally just beginning to come out of the ground, a visit to Babcock Ranch, is seemingly equal parts a trip into a bygone era and a trip into the future. As visitors turn east off 31 and approach the new town’s signature entry bridge, they are treated to views of a stunning waterscape and the iconic Lake House recreation center scheduled for completion by the end of April. Once across the bridge, the feeling of entering a place that offers a different, better way of living is palpable.
The winding, tree-lined streetscape provides an immediate connection with nature as it makes its way past Lake Timber, Babcock Ranch’s first neighborhood. Completed and soon to be completed homes offer a glimpse of the new town’s Craftsman, Farmhouse, Coastal Gulf Vernacular, Spanish, and Colonial/West Indies architectural styles derived from the styles found in pre-World War II neighborhoods in Fort Myers, Naples, and throughout Southwest Florida. Grouped around Lake Timber’s parks and streetscapes, the homes and their inviting front porches are positioned close to the street to encourage the social interaction and personal connections that are part of life at Babcock.
Just a brief walk or bike ride from Lake Timber, a grove of trees and a street lined with a white fence marks the arrival at Babcock’s emerging downtown district that continues the town’s connection with nature and sense of community. Founder’s Square, a 13-acre lakefront green space, anchors the district and features a band shell, boardwalk, splash pad, picnic tables, and shady areas for relaxing. Live music is featured at the band shell every Tuesday and Saturday evening.
Across the street, the Babcock Neighborhood School, Slater’s Goods & Provisions – a market that will offer a coffee shop, grab and go items, and the Square Scoops ice cream shop – and The Hatchery that offers emeritus-level consultative opportunities are under construction and slated for completion in mid-July. The completed Table & Tap restaurant provides an indoor and outdoor lakefront dining experience. A towering 80-year old oak tree transplanted from the Babcock property provides a backdrop for the restaurant’s beer garden. Woodlea Hall is home to Curry Creek Outfitters that serves the hikers, bikers, kayakers, boaters, and fishing enthusiasts eager to enjoy Babcock’s 50-miles of nature trails and numerous lakes.
Woodlea Hall: Our Sales & Information Center
For first-time visitors, a visit to the Discovery Center on Woodlea Hall’s first floor is, perhaps, the most important initial destination. The Discovery Center is the focal point for obtaining information about all aspects of Babcock Ranch, including how the new town came into being, Kitson & Partners’ commitment to preserving and maintaining the environment, how advanced technologies such as solar power, a full gigabyte of fiber-optic connectivity, autonomous vehicles, and tele-medicine have been incorporated in the community, and Babcock’s diverse residential product offering that now includes twin villa and single-family homes base-priced from $180,000 to more than $500,000. Axel Kallenborn, the Discovery Center Manager, oversees a staff of sales concierges and town ambassadors, each of whom is uniquely qualified to present all aspects of the Babcock Ranch story and answer visitors’ questions.
“Our Discovery Center team is always excited to present the story of Babcock Ranch and to answer questions,” said Kallenborn. “The story is rich and multi-faceted. Our visitors are always curious about how solar power and advanced technologies have been combined with the town’s eco-sensitivities, parks, lakes, and nature trails to create a new and better way of living at Babcock. The environmentally friendly lifestyle is powered by the 75mw Florida Power & Light solar power plant located within the town. While Babcock residents will pay the same rates for electricity as any other FPL customer, the green-building standards for all homes will lower overall costs because of their significantly lower energy consumption. We want our visitors to enjoy the presentation experience and to leave with a better understanding of what Babcock Ranch is all about.”
The Discovery Center pays homage to the Babcock Ranch property’s past, present, and future while mixing green certified materials and finishes with advanced presentation technologies. Visitors are greeted in a conversation area with a living wall that incorporates vegetation from the property to acknowledge Kitson’s commitment to preservation. Kallenborn’s town ambassadors navigate a non-linear touch-screen presentation that addresses all aspects of life at Babcock in multiple interaction areas. Additional meeting space is available in an area that includes a long table, comfortable seating, and touch-screen presentation technology. A break area includes a bar with barstool seating where visitors can relax while enjoying a cup of coffee or a beverage. A circular reception desk is positioned in the center of the space to provide highly visible access to visitors arriving via the building’s front or rear entrances. The reception desk is clad with pre-aged corrugated steel that provides a connection to the metal roofs that were prevalent in the past. A nearby virtual area allows prospective homebuyers to envision how their home might be situated within Lake Timber. A sliding barn door provides an entry to the adjacent Curry Creek Outfitters store.
Visit Babcock Ranch Today
The Discovery Center, Table & Tap, and Curry Creek Outfitters are open seven days a week. To learn more about the solar powered town being created by Kitson & Partners at Babcock Ranch, visit babcockranch.com. To learn more about the events that are held every week at Babcock Ranch and open to all, visit babcockranch.com/events.