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Q: Why are all those trees being cut down on Immokalee Road east of 951? Seems like it’s a big area cleared. Is there some project on the way?
— G.E., Golden Gate Estates
Q: What is the land being cleared on Broken Back Road behind the CVS on the north side of Immokalee and 951?
— William Staros, Naples
Q: A large area is being cleared on the north side of Immokalee Road just west of Collier Boulevard in Naples. I heard it was for a new bundled community. Any truth in that?
— Rod Hurban, Galena, Ill., and Naples
Q: What is going on on the north side of Immokalee Road just west of 951? Major clearing taking place.
— K. Weigert, Naples
A: Behold the beginning of the Esplanade Golf and Country Club, a nearly 1,800-acre gated community that will extend from Immokalee Road in northern Collier County to the Lee County line. At build-out, the development will include up to 1,121 single-family homes.
As illustrated by the number of questions about it this week, a lot of local residents are noticing the massive clearing that recently began. The excavation project can clearly be seen through a small stand of trees remaining along the north side of Immokalee Road.
Until now, this massive project has been known as the Mirasol residential planned unit development. For county permitting purposes, it still is the Mirasol RPUD.
An agreement reached last year with environmental groups ended a decade-long legal fight over the residential golf community planned in a slough flowway. Instead of two proposed golf courses, Esplanade will have one 18-hole course.
The new community’s eastern border will be Broken Back Road, the proposed future extension of Collier Boulevard north from Immokalee Road. Esplanade will wrap around two mixed-use developments planned for that northwest corner.
Esplanade is being built by Taylor Morrison Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based builder and developer of single-family homes in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida and Texas. Taylor Morrison is one of five homebuilders in Treviso Bay off U.S. 41 East, and is the developer of Hacienda Lakes, another large residential community that recently began clearing land in East Naples.
In fact, Esplanade at Hacienda Lakes is the name of a “boutique development” in the East Naples project, said Cammie Longenecker, vice president of sales and marketing for Taylor Morrison’s West Florida division.
The developer anticipates construction starting in the fourth quarter of this year for model homes in Esplanade, Longenecker said. The golf course is expected to open for play in 2014, according to a news release from Taylor Morrison.
“Our goal is to be developing both simultaneously,” Longenecker said.
Esplanade’s golf course, designed by C.W. Golf Architecture of Ann Arbor, Mich., is intended to encourage beginners while challenging seasoned players. The community’s 6,900-yard centerpiece will feature many lakes and open green spaces, its site plan shows.
“The eco-friendly fairway is expected to be crafted to complement the existing natural features of the land,” according to a news release.
An extensive greenway trail system is planned to connect neighborhoods and parks within the community and provide recreational opportunities for walkers, joggers and cyclists. Esplanade also plans to offer amenities such as lighted clay tennis courts, a pro shop to serve tennis players and golfers, a swim center with lap pool, a resort-style pool with open-air bar, a wellness center and spa, a gathering center and an events lawn.
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"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.