The Villages could be planning another major expansion into Lake County — this time in the City of Mascotte.
The mega-retirement community, under the LLC Buffalo Hide and Cattle Company, bought land from real estate firm Maury L. Carter & Associates for $7 million earlier this month, according to Lake County property records. The 900-acre property sits west of State Road 33, South of Austin Merritt Road and east of Honeycut Road.
The Villages’ land purchase in Mascotte comes as the community is expanding, but it is unclear at this point what is planned for the property, as no plans have been submitted yet, said Max Spann, the city’s planner.
Daryl Carter, president of Maury L. Carter and Associates, confirmed that the property was sold and that he represented the seller and was the broker. He said he could not comment on the buyer or their intentions with the property.
According to the firm’s website, the property is currently zoned as rural residential and allows for one dwelling per acre, which would mean around 900 homes could be built. A rezoning would be required to build more homes at a higher density.
Currently, The Villages spans three counties — Lake, Sumter and Marion — and several cities including Fruitland Park, Lady Lake, Leesburg, Wildwood and Coleman. It’s the nation’s largest and fastest growing retirement community, boasting a population of more than 138,000. And it continues to climb.
In 2018, Leesburg sold about 1,200 acres to The Villages to build The Villages of West Lake. Plans call for more than 3,200 homes and a $100 million, nearly 250-acre mixed-use district, complete with a regional hospital. Construction started in August 2022.
The Villages’ newly purchased property in Mascotte appears to be about a mile and a half southwest of the property it owns in Leesburg.
The Villages is also building in Coleman and expanding further into Wildwood.
RCLCO, a leading real estate consulting group, named The Villages No. 1 in its list of the country’s top 50 master-planned communities. In 2022, the group reported, 3,923 homes were sold in The Villages, the most of any master-planned community in the nation.
That No. 1 spot isn’t new for The Villages, either. The community topped the same list in 2021, 2020 and 2019, with 4,004, 2,453 and 2,429 homes sold, respectively.
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