Town of Big Cypress takes first step
Initial plans recently submitted to state seek to build a smaller development than originally proposed – for now
By Liam Dillon , Eric Staats
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
A piece of the new town of Big Cypress proposed for eastern Collier County is taking a first step in the state’s review process.
In a document filed last week with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, the company asks to build 9,000 homes, commercial and retail buildings, a 500-room hotel, a golf course, schools, a 200-bed hospital, civic buildings and parks in a 3,600 acre town. The document is a precursor to a Development of Regional Impact application to be filed later this year, company officials said this morning.
The development is focused in a town center encircled by a realignment of Oil Well Road and an extension of Randall Boulevard and drops — at least for now — proposals to build villages and hamlets farther north and south on Collier holdings.
“This we think is the most logical place to begin Big Cypress,’’ Collier Enterprises CEO Tom Flood said.
Flood said it made more sense for the company to move forward with a piece of what eventually could be a larger development rather than trying to get a DRI approved for the entire 22,000-acre Big Cypress Stewardship District all at once. Current real estate market conditions did not figure in the decision, he said.
“We liked Southwest Florida before, and we still like Southwest Florida,’’ Flood said.
In a nod to environmental concerns, he said the company also wants to take more time to study how endangered Florida panthers use parts of the Collier holdings before deciding whether to propose more development there.
The plans forwarded to the regional planning council call for preserving or restoring some 10,000 acres of wetlands and habitat the company owns along the edge of the Camp Keais Strand and in the Okaloacoochee Slough.
The company anticipates breaking ground in late 2010. Approvals still are needed from Collier County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District.