A giant wholesale nursery in North Naples is preparing for the last season at its current location.
H.M. Buckley Wholesale Growers, the landmark 23-acre nursery north of the Collier County headquarters library on Airport-Pulling Road, has sold its property after 28 years to make way for a mixed-use development.
The land is in a desirable spot — between Pine Ridge and Vanderbilt Beach roads. It was snapped up by a developer that plans to create a pedestrian-friendly urban village with lots of condos and office space.
Buckley likely will operate through the spring in its present spot.
Thomas Buckley Jr., general manager of the business owned by his father, Thomas Sr., said the business will continue serving the same customers, just from a different location in Southwest Florida.
“The intent is to keep doing business as usual,” he said.
Its new site hasn’t been determined, but he said it will stay in Southwest Florida.
More than half the business supplies Collier County landscapers, golf courses and residential communities with plants and flowers. Buckley said that he’s expanded that particular area of the business in the past few years because he enjoys seeing the products stay locally.
For many years the grower had a strong business supplying garden centers for national retailers.
Buckley is a fifth-generation agriculture businessman. His great-great-grandfather started the business in Illinois in the late 1800s. In October 1977, when he was 8 years old, his father moved to Naples to take advantage of the climate and to start operations here. Today, his younger brother, Blake, is the propagation manager.
Buckley said he’s proud to work for a family business.
“The size and strength and closeness of our family has allowed us to succeed for 100-plus years,” he said.
Offers for the property have been coming in for several years, even though it never was on the market, Buckley said.
J.E.D. of Southwest Florida Inc. is planning to build 225 residential units and 160,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and commercial space on the property. There will be no big-box retailers. The residential units will be 900- to 1,800-square feet and designed for professionals.
“We want it to be a real live-work environment,” said Andy D’Jamoos, vice president of sales and marketing for J.E.D.
He said the design is in the final stages and soon the company will be asking county government for site development approval. Construction is expected to begin in the next six months.
About three months ago, J.E.D. stuck a sign on the property announcing its plans to build. D’Jamoos said he’s received a “whirlwind of phone calls” from people expressing interest in residential and commercial units, and “I haven’t even had to market anything yet.”