Moorings Park considers purchase of 22 acres north of Naples zoo

Brittany Stready, left, 23, a rehabilitation technician at Moorings Park and past graduate of Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology's Project Explore program, talks with therapy patients and staff members on Thursday morning at Moorings Park. Project Explore, a community-based program that pairs student with staff mentors for education and support, will hold it's graduation next week. Jason Easterly/Special to the Daily News

Photo by JASON EASTERLY // Buy this photo

Brittany Stready, left, 23, a rehabilitation technician at Moorings Park and past graduate of Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology's Project Explore program, talks with therapy patients and staff members on Thursday morning at Moorings Park. Project Explore, a community-based program that pairs student with staff mentors for education and support, will hold it's graduation next week. Jason Easterly/Special to the Daily News

Moorings Park, a retirement community in Naples, is considering purchasing a 22-acre parcel of land north of the Naples zoo.

Annexed into the city in 2009, the land has sat vacant since developers backed out of a deal to build a retirement community there the same year.

“It makes sense for Moorings Park,” said Adam Benigni, senior planner for Naples. “It’s close to their general vicinity.”

The city had the land zoned for a new use, “senior living residential,” exclusively for the failed project.

Owners of the property, Fifth Third Bank, first offered it to the zoo for expansion last year. Collier County commissioners decided there wasn’t enough interest to put the purchase to a referendum, Mayor John Sorey said.

The zoo’s right to consider a purchase expired in January.

“I wish the zoo could acquire it, but it’s not worth the price,” Sorey said.

Now the bank is giving Moorings Park a chance to buy the property before May 20. The asking price for the property was not available.

“It’s a great little piece of property,” said Moorings Park CEO Dan Lavender, who sent a letter to Moorings residents last month to tell them about the opportunity.

Buying the property has three benefits, he wrote. Moorings could diversify its investment portofolio, use the property for a future project and prevent a competitor from moving in.

“We think it has potential,” Lavender said in a phone interview.

Opened in 1979, Moorings Park sits on an 83-acre campus off of Goodlette-Frank Road just south of Pine Ridge Road with more than 700 residents, Lavender said.

Moorings has a few projects in the works now, Lavender said. They opened three new buildings in November. On May 7, the 370,000-square-foot center for healthy living is expected to open. It will include physicians offices, a spa, workout rooms and lecture halls.

Lavender said to expect an announcement soon on a partnership with the Estuary at Grey Oaks Country Club. Benigni said Moorings is planning a satellite community at the neighborhood, situated at Golden Gate Parkway and Airport-Pulling Road North.

Attempts to reach Fifth Third Bank officials for comment were not successful.

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