There’s no denying that The Villages of Florida are one of the more intriguing communities around. A general name given to a census designated area that can be found in Florida, this often refers to a very broad area centered around the very specific planned community of the same name. There’s no denying that the age restricted community is the heart and soul of this area, and has directly contributed to the high growth of the surrounding area.
In fact, the total population of the area now known as The Villages is over 115,000 total people, and the area is one of the fastest growing in the United States.
The history of how this came to be is an extremely interesting one, and worth noting that the modern development of The Villages into what it is today was never a foregone conclusion but took vision and hard work to create.
The story actually begins with two Michigan businessmen, Al Tarrson and Harold Schwartz, who in the 1960s sold tracks of Florida land via mail order. This was their main part of the business however a 1968 law was passed on the federal level that banned the sale of any real estate when it was paid for by mail order. This that the two of them with large chunks of undeveloped Florida land and no easy way of getting rid of it at any type of a decent profit.
Orange Blossom Gardens
This led to the two businessmen creating a mobile home park that went by the name of Orange Blossom Gardens. Originally this mobile home park only took up a small area that contained a mere 400 units despite a decade of pitching and selling.
However Harold Swartz still saw the potential there and bought out his partner before bringing his son on board to help with an eye on expansion and bringing out the full potential that they both believed this land had with development.
Taking It To The Next Level
A study of the most successful retirement communities found in Florida made it clear that offering exceptional amenities, entertainment, and additional bonuses to the living community resulted in much happier residents, higher demand, and a willingness to pay a higher price. Looking at these developments as a model for how to do things, the two began to strongly upgrade and renovate the facilities which led directly to massive sales improvements throughout the 1980s.
Despite this booming business, they believe that even more could be done and in 1992 they changed the name to The Villages and bought hundreds of acres of surrounding land for a planned community that would develop into the top community of its kind. This led to the fallout development of houses, streets, and secure gated communities that had their own town squares, restaurants, visitor centers, country clubs, and a wide array of entertainment options.
That has led to The Villages we all know today.