More "glamping" and private hangar estate homes on tap for Westgate River Ranch

Westgate Resorts officials will start construction this summer on a 102-unit luxury estate subdivision for airplane owners at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo.

The Aviators Club Estates community, which is adjacent to the Polk County resort's private runway, has been on the drawing board for years. Westgate COO Mark Waltrip told GrowthSpotter the resort is in the process of interviewing homebuilders to partner on the development.

"We're always looking for good contractors, so if someone is interested we'd love to hear from them," he said. "We see this as a second-home or retiree market. There are over 600,000 private plane owners in the U.S., and this will be the first fly-in, fly-out resort of its kind."

The plan is to build at least one model home this summer and open a sales center in the first quarter of 2017. 

"They're going to be zero-lot-line homes ranging from 2,000 to 2,400 square feet," Waltrip said. "Each home will have a 50-by-50-foot hangar, which is large enough to accommodate most small planes and light jets. But if someone wants to buy two lots, we can accommodate a larger plane."

Aviator Estates is one of several new expansion projects underway at the Dude Ranch/golf resort. On March 15, the resort will open 10 new ultra-high end teepees to expand its highly successful "glamping" offerings.  

Each 800-square-foot teepee features a private bathroom with clawfoot tub, and a stone fireplace that acts as a divider between the living/dining room and the bedroom. Waltrip said each teepee sleeps up to six people, but they're really designed for couples.

The resort is also adding 110 RV lots on the property. "These are going to be some of the nicest RV lots in the country," Waltrip said. "They're heavily wooded, and some of them even have private boat docks. They're going to have a private clubhouse and private pool."

The resort already has 469 RV lots, but Waltrip said most are privately owned. The resort was having difficulty meeting demand, especially for weekend rentals. The new lots will also be offered for sale in early 2017, but Westgate will manage the vacation rentals. 

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