Lee County has approved a zoning amendment for the Estates of Entrada, a 292-acre development in North Fort Myers.
The amended zoning approval added a life care designation on parcels close to U.S. 41 that will allow for the construction of assisted living, continuing care and independent living accommodations on four of the property's seven building parcels.
Developer Paul Hardy said as now approved, the Estates of Entrada could become among the largest facilities of its kind in the state, allowing many who don't have the finances to get the late-life care they need.
An aerial photograph of the boundaries of the Estates of Entrada development.
"With the changing demographics of America that life care on that property would be best use for it," Hardy said. "Anyone who has gone through medical issues with their parents develops an appreciation for how important it is."
Joe Gonzalez, marketing director for Hardy, said this project has it all for any type of senior.
"If you can think of any community that has single-family and town homes all the way through independent and assisted living and memory care around here, you're probably not going to find it," Gonzalez said. "A family with someone who's 55 or 65 can move there and move through the process of living."
In April 2012, Hardy and an undisclosed investor purchased the property for $3.35 million. The previous owner paid $22 million in February 2006
The original zoning allowed for up to 1,600 single-family, multifamily and townhouses, and 170,000 square feet of retail and office space.
The Estates of Entrada is near the intersection of Del Prado Boulevard and U.S. 41 and is part of an entire Entrada concept under Hardy's control.
Adjacent on its north border is Villages of Entrada, a 721-lot, single-family subdivision, and the 40,000-square-foot Entrada Plaza.
The area is less than a mile from the new Publix Plaza on the U.S. 41/Del Prado intersection, and less than three miles from the new VA Hospital.
Hardy said he thinks there we will see a trend toward larger retirement communities where seniors are offered a wide variety of lifestyles ranging from single-family homes, villas, townhomes and eventually assisted-living accommodations.
"Paul is really passionate about the life-care cycle. He wishes he had something like that when his dad needed it," Hardy said. "He became interested in it right about that time."
Hardy said that the Estates of Entrada will not only provide care for older Southwest Floridians, but those who may not have the financial means as others.
"I feel strongly that with life care and independent living that there aren't many options for the middle-class. There are in Collier County, but they're very expensive," Hardy said. "If you put in 1,600 to 2,000 units and have life care, you can provide the amenities because you have the population base."
Among the amenities some of the higher-end places have are banks, beauty salons, movie theatres, and Hardy said it would be great to have those amenities at the Estates of Entrada at a much more affordable price.
Hardy said it's the same concept he used for his Worthington project in Bonita Springs which put many homes in a golf course setting to give the amenities of a high-end golf course community at a smaller price tag.
"I believe it can be done with life care and that property in Cape Coral is the perfect place for it," Hardy said. "My job is to convince a life care provider it's a good idea."