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NC_Palms

Buying land in Florida

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NC_Palms

If you don't know already, I manage a palm and tropical plant nursery through the web. I love what I do but now is the time where I am considering expanding my nursery from just being online to an actual walk-in store. I am planning on establishing everything in the Southwest Florida area, due to the majority of things I focus on selling isn't hardy in the Carolinas. I am super excited for the big adventure, yet a little nervous. This will be my very first time purchasing land. Any advice is great. Thanks so much. 

Also, I created a Gofundme to help with any extra fees I may come across during this, I will be blessed if you shared it around. :)

https://www.gofundme.com/3x3ed-help-me-start-a-plant-nursery&rcid=r01-154051931514-4a5ccba563284822&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

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RedRabbit

Where are you looking to buy in SW Florida? I've been around the block a few times in  real estate so feel free to PM me any questions you have a long the way. :)

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NC_Palms
18 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

Where are you looking to buy in SW Florida? I've been around the block a few times in  real estate so feel free to PM me any questions you have a long the way. :)

Thanks. I am thinking about the Bradenton - Sarasota area. 

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PalmatierMeg

I live 1-1/2 hours south of there in Cape Coral. Are you planning on selling a lot of tropical palms or focusing on cold hardier palms? If you want to expand into tropicals big time, Sarasota winters might be too cold, esp. east of I75 unless you have a heated greenhouse. Acreage to build a nursery right on the coast may be unavailable or outrageously expensive. I noticed years ago that as I travel north, incidence of very tropical palms, i.e., coconuts, Adonidias, etc. disappears until by Tampa the vegetation has switched from tropical/subtropical to continental SE. I suggest you closely follow weather station temps in the area you are considering this coming winter, which is forecast to be cooler and wetter than normal. And before you buy, an in-person visit is a necessity. Before we decided on Cape Coral, we spent a week here when weather was harshest: mid-summer. In your case: winter

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kinzyjr

Good luck @NC_Palms!  Real estate prices are going through the roof in my area (Inland Central Florida).  It may be different down in SW FL, but usually the best microclimates are priced accordingly.

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Missi
2 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

Good luck @NC_Palms!  Real estate prices are going through the roof in my area (Inland Central Florida).  It may be different down in SW FL, but usually the best microclimates are priced accordingly.

Nope, even inland rural Naples (11.5 miles east of the coast - frosts and freezes in winter) prices are shooting through the roof. 2 fully wooded acres just sold for $80k.

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DoomsDave
10 minutes ago, Missi said:

Nope, even inland rural Naples (11.5 miles east of the coast - frosts and freezes in winter) prices are shooting through the roof. 2 fully wooded acres just sold for $80k.

Ah, nice and level with wells?

That would go for 5 to 10 times that here.

@NC_Palms, good luck! Also consider environmental issues, too. Does the prospective parcel overlap or border on protected areas or sensitive habitats?

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NC_Palms
16 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I live 1-1/2 hours south of there in Cape Coral. Are you planning on selling a lot of tropical palms or focusing on cold hardier palms? If you want to expand into tropicals big time, Sarasota winters might be too cold, esp. east of I75 unless you have a heated greenhouse. Acreage to build a nursery right on the coast may be unavailable or outrageously expensive. I noticed years ago that as I travel north, incidence of very tropical palms, i.e., coconuts, Adonidias, etc. disappears until by Tampa the vegetation has switched from tropical/subtropical to continental SE. I suggest you closely follow weather station temps in the area you are considering this coming winter, which is forecast to be cooler and wetter than normal. And before you buy, an in-person visit is a necessity. Before we decided on Cape Coral, we spent a week here when weather was harshest: mid-summer. In your case: winter

Anywhere west of I-75 is out of my price range. I am thinking east of Sarasota, the lands cheaper and more suited for agricultural zoning. My goal is to focus on suitable palms for 10a and 9b, which Sarasota’s climate falls in, and native Florida plants. 

7 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

Good luck @NC_Palms!  Real estate prices are going through the roof in my area (Inland Central Florida).  It may be different down in SW FL, but usually the best microclimates are priced accordingly.

Thanks! I’ll be visited Florida soon to start the official land search. It seems like the cheapest land in Florida is swampland or in a flood zone - something I am trying to avoid. 

5 hours ago, DoomsDave said:

Ah, nice and level with wells?

That would go for 5 to 10 times that here.

@NC_Palms, good luck! Also consider environmental issues, too. Does the prospective parcel overlap or border on protected areas or sensitive habitats?

Thanks for the advice! 

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RJ

Why not the South East side of 0keechobee? Seems like it would be an ideal Micro. I haven't looked, but last I knew that was mostly agriculture land. 

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NC_Palms
1 minute ago, RJ said:

Why not the South East side of 0keechobee? Seems like it would be an ideal Micro. I haven't looked, but last I knew that was mostly agriculture land. 

I’ve considered that area and it’s an option. I need to really start comparing the climates to figure out what is the best microclimate. 

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RJ
11 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

I’ve considered that area and it’s an option. I need to really start comparing the climates to figure out what is the best microclimate. 

I'm certainly no expert on FL Climate, just being the leeward side of a very large body of water like that has to moderate temperatures, in your case ideally in both directions. If I were you that would be the first place I would be looking... perhaps there is a reason not to that someone more local could expand on. :unsure:

 

 

Edited by RJ

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Zeeth

Yeah, west of I-75 in Sarasota is cheaper for sure, but it's pretty much outside of the "coconut zone". Lots of other stuff still does well there though, like royal palms and Beccariophoenix alfredii. Southeast side of Okeechobee is warmer as far as climate goes, but maybe not as civilized as Sarasota. Pine Island isn't a bad compromise between the two.

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RJ
2 minutes ago, Zeeth said:

.... Southeast side of Okeechobee is warmer as far as climate goes, but maybe not as civilized as Sarasota. ...

So there is lies the question.... what type of business are you looking to run? "not as civilized" means cheaper land. Sounds like it has a nice micro, however it wouldn't be as good for "walk in" business. Foot traffic isn't going to be there. One thing I learned when  I moved "south" is folks down here don't like to drive to shop. Where I came from the nearest Home Depot was 45 min away. I was used to having to travel to shop. Nature of a very rural state. 

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RedRabbit
20 hours ago, NC_Palms said:

Thanks. I am thinking about the Bradenton - Sarasota area. 

We could sure use a specialty palm grower in the Bradenton Sarasota area... Englewood might be worth thinking about. Decent climate in the greater Sarasota area and a little cheaper than points north.

I think @Zeeth's suggestion of Pine Island is excellent if you're willing to go to the Cape Coral area. Great microclimate and land is very cheap. 

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Zeeth
3 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

We could sure use a specialty palm grower in the Bradenton Sarasota area... Englewood might be worth thinking about. Decent climate in the greater Sarasota area and a little cheaper than points north.

I think @Zeeth's suggestion of Pine Island is excellent if you're willing to go to the Cape Coral area. Great microclimate and land is very cheap. 

Oh yeah, Englewood and Nokomis are good places to look into as well. 

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NC_Palms
3 hours ago, RJ said:

So there is lies the question.... what type of business are you looking to run? "not as civilized" means cheaper land. Sounds like it has a nice micro, however it wouldn't be as good for "walk in" business. Foot traffic isn't going to be there. One thing I learned when  I moved "south" is folks down here don't like to drive to shop. Where I came from the nearest Home Depot was 45 min away. I was used to having to travel to shop. Nature of a very rural state. 

4

That is why I want to be closer to the city. I don't think I would get a lot of business outside in the central part of South Florida

3 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

We could sure use a specialty palm grower in the Bradenton Sarasota area... Englewood might be worth thinking about. Decent climate in the greater Sarasota area and a little cheaper than points north.

I think @Zeeth's suggestion of Pine Island is excellent if you're willing to go to the Cape Coral area. Great microclimate and land is very cheap. 

I'll have to research some places in that area. I also like the Venice Beach area, which is farther south than Sarasota. 

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PalmatierMeg

You will not be able to grow 10a stuff east of Sarasota, more like 9b/a stuff. 10a is restricted to the immediate coast. There may be microclimates right on the south side of Lake Okeechobee. Pine Island just west of Cape Coral is more like zone 11, with winters warmer than mine because it benefits from the nearby Gulf. Lots of tropicals grown there as most of it is zoned agriculture. I'm not sure how much walk-in traffic a retail nursery can generate there or how much land costs there.

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Missi
On 10/26/2018, 2:54:21, DoomsDave said:

That would go for 5 to 10 times that here.

That's like comparing apples to oranges, my friend! :lol:

EDIT: Or should I say oranges to grapes?? ...:hmm::P

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PalmTreeDude

Be careful about what community you move into, some areas of South Florida can be rough (like all states). I have seen areas like this myself, do your homework! But good luck! Florida is a nice place, I am wanting to move down there someday. Remember, growing palms is an addiction! This means once you get down there you are going to be used to the Sabal palmetto and other common palms and will want more! :mrlooney: If it is possible, I would probably recommend trying to get a piece of land in zone 10a. But, the rest is a 9b and you can still, of course, get away with a lot. 

Edited by PalmTreeDude
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NC_Palms
On 10/29/2018, 8:40:54, PalmTreeDude said:

Be careful about what community you move into, some areas of South Florida can be rough (like all states). I have seen areas like this myself, do your homework! But good luck! Florida is a nice place, I am wanting to move down there someday. Remember, growing palms is an addiction! This means once you get down there you are going to be used to the Sabal palmetto and other common palms and will want more! :mrlooney: If it is possible, I would probably recommend trying to get a piece of land in zone 10a. But, the rest is a 9b and you can still, of course, get away with a lot. 

The palm bug bit me and has taken over my career. :P

I would definitely like to get at least into 10a. Moving to zone 9a in Florida or colder is similar to Eastern North Carolina and isn't really a change. 10a is where all the true tropical flora shows up  

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Bill H2DB

  Here is an old , but quite indicative map .

It shows the  number of times in a 20 year period , that the Temperature has been below 32 deg  F .

  I've lived in Florida for over 66 yrs , and it still seems valid over a period of time . Somewhat increased " heat Islands "

have grown since then , but in the most severe Cold events , there is always a strong wind flow , that reduces the effect of the

urban heat , particularly if the day before has already removed a lot of the surface heat . 

      Big Ones happen .  Been a while....clock is ticking........

 

14129959554_667be80170_b.jpgFlorida Fruit map copy by Bill H, on Flickr

 

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NC_Palms
On 10/31/2018, 9:59:57, Bill H2DB said:

  Here is an old , but quite indicative map .

It shows the  number of times in a 20 year period , that the Temperature has been below 32 deg  F .

  I've lived in Florida for over 66 yrs , and it still seems valid over a period of time . Somewhat increased " heat Islands "

have grown since then , but in the most severe Cold events , there is always a strong wind flow , that reduces the effect of the

urban heat , particularly if the day before has already removed a lot of the surface heat . 

      Big Ones happen .  Been a while....clock is ticking........

 

14129959554_667be80170_b.jpgFlorida Fruit map copy by Bill H, on Flickr

 

Interesting map, I want to be in the orange/red section. Thanks for sharing. 

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Moose

I could not afford my 1/4 acre Mooseland if I were to buy it today.  :wacko:

Been told to cash out but I love my garden. It will get destroyed after I am gone and they build a McMansion on the property. All house and garage, very little green.

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Jerry@TreeZoo

The Belle Glade / Pahokee area southeast of the lake has a lot of cheap land for a reason.  It is a severely economically depressed area with a high crime rate. 

 

I would recommend either Pine Island or Martin County. 

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NC_Palms
13 hours ago, redant said:

Cheapest and best microclimate has to be SE side of lake Okeechobee  Plenty of fruiting coconuts on this side. Go a bit north and they are gone.  https://www.google.com/maps/@26.9540266,-80.6095726,3a,75y,270.21h,78.09t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJZjlQ5TAPDckQuVozCqkKA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

1

 

50 minutes ago, Jerry@TreeZoo said:

The Belle Glade / Pahokee area southeast of the lake has a lot of cheap land for a reason.  It is a severely economically depressed area with a high crime rate. 

 

I would recommend either Pine Island or Martin County. 

 

I like the microclimates around Lake Okeechobee but I think I won't get enough traffic for profit. This is why I am considering areas a little cooler than a 10a climate, but nothing less than a 9b. 

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kinzyjr

9b is pretty much all of the I-4 corridor and most of the US-27 and US-98 corridors within ~5-10 miles of I-4 to the north and points south.  That does open up a lot of areas for you.  I'll vouch for what @Jerry@TreeZoo said about the cities around the south side of Lake Okeechobee.  I've been down there numerous times for business.  Great microclimate weather-wise, but not a place I'd care to live.

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NC_Palms
14 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

9b is pretty much all of the I-4 corridor and most of the US-27 and US-98 corridors within ~5-10 miles of I-4 to the north and points south.  That does open up a lot of areas for you.  I'll vouch for what @Jerry@TreeZoo said about the cities around the south side of Lake Okeechobee.  I've been down there numerous times for business.  Great microclimate weather-wise, but not a place I'd care to live.

You know coming originally from Pennsylvania, Florida 9b seems like a "tropical" paradise and being able to grow more palm species than I do in NC is exciting. But without thinking about climate, I would much rather live in the Tampa, Sarasota or Orlando area than by Lake Okeechobee. 

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kinzyjr
5 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

You know coming originally from Pennsylvania, Florida 9b seems like a "tropical" paradise. But without thinking about climate, I would much rather live in the Tampa, Sarasota or Orlando area than by Lake Okeechobee. 

Zone-wise, 9b gives you approximately 480 species/varieties of palms you can grow, minus a few that don't tolerate our heat, humidity and nematodes.  If you can get further south (Sarasota, Pine Island, Martin County, etc.), 10a gives you almost 1500 species or varieties you can theoretically grow, while 10b (not cheap) would give you almost 2400.  As you can see, once you get to zone 10, things start getting very interesting.  On the west coast, that would mean you want to live west of I-75 and south of I-4.  On the east coast, that would mean you want to live east of I-95 and south of I-4. 

Also being originally from PA, I can tell you that USDA 9b in comparison to 5a or 5b is like a dream come true.

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RedRabbit

For business purposes, 9b would probably be fine as long as you're serious about protecting your inventory every few years. A good example of this would be exoticplumeria.com which is run out of Brandon so it can be done. That said, if you're not willing not protect then 10a+ makes a huge difference.  

All things considered, Sarasota County would be at the top of my list if I were doing it. 

  • West of I-75 is mostly 10a with the barrier islands 10a/b. 
  • Good place for family.
  • Sarasota is decent size city that has most things you could ask for.
  • Easy to make day trips to Tampa, St. Pete, and Orlando.
  • Much better proximity to a major airport (TIA) than points further south on the west coast.
  • Generally clean with a lot of upscale areas. 
  • Much lower competition with the palm niche compared to the east coast. 

Collier County probably also deserves an honorable mention... Some of the other places mentioned here have a better climate, but totally miss the mark on being "family friendly".

Edited by RedRabbit
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NC_Palms
1 hour ago, kinzyjr said:

Zone-wise, 9b gives you approximately 480 species/varieties of palms you can grow, minus a few that don't tolerate our heat, humidity and nematodes.  If you can get further south (Sarasota, Pine Island, Martin County, etc.), 10a gives you almost 1500 species or varieties you can theoretically grow, while 10b (not cheap) would give you almost 2400.  As you can see, once you get to zone 10, things start getting very interesting.  On the west coast, that would mean you want to live west of I-75 and south of I-4.  On the east coast, that would mean you want to live east of I-95 and south of I-4. 

Also being originally from PA, I can tell you that USDA 9b in comparison to 5a or 5b is like a dream come true.

1

That's pretty helpful. I think what I am planning on growing is suited for 9b but I would prefer to get into a 10a climate. I haven't looked into the land in Martin County or Pine Island but climate wise that seems perfect for my situation. 

1 hour ago, RedRabbit said:

For business purposes, 9b would probably be fine as long as you're serious about protecting your inventory every few years. A good example of this would be exoticplumeria.com which is run out of Brandon so it can be done. That said, if you're not willing not protect then 10a+ makes a huge difference.  

All things considered, Sarasota County would be at the top of my list if I were doing it. 

  • West of I-75 is mostly 10a with the barrier islands 10a/b. 
  • Good place for family.
  • Sarasota is decent size city that has most things you could ask for.
  • Easy to make day trips to Tampa, St. Pete, and Orlando.
  • Much better proximity to a major airport (TIA) than points further south on the west coast.
  • Generally clean with a lot of upscale areas. 
  • Much lower competition with the palm niche compared to the east coast. 

Collier County probably also deserves an honorable mention... Some of the other places mentioned here have a better climate, but totally miss the mark on being "family friendly".

 

Sarasota County and the Sarasota - Bradenton metro is my top location to open up a nursery and relocate. Sarasota/Siesta Key was a vacation spot for many years that I just fell in love with. The city has the urban vibe that I like and is close enough to nature. I will be back down in Southwest Florida this summer to start the land search. I think this will give me a good perspective of what is available in the region. 

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RJ

Perhaps having your nursery and retail establishment in the same locations in't ideal?

 On the other hand, in 9b building a small greenhouse for your more tender palms (probably a small percentage of your inventory) that would most likely only be needed a few times a year might be a valid option. 

The nursery trade is pretty competitive, your overhead in terms of rent is going to be of significant importance. Have you talked to a bank? Knowing your budget may be what determines location. I have family not far from Jupiter, FL beautiful area on the intercoastal islands. Plenty of money there, but with that also comes expensive land. 

 

 

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redant

I can't imagine making a living running a nursey in FL, palms are dirt cheap, my neighbor has a couple hundred 6 foot of trunk triple Adonidia palms, can't sell them for $50

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NC_Palms
On 11/13/2018, 1:22:11, RJ said:

Perhaps having your nursery and retail establishment in the same locations in't ideal?

 On the other hand, in 9b building a small greenhouse for your more tender palms (probably a small percentage of your inventory) that would most likely only be needed a few times a year might be a valid option. 

The nursery trade is pretty competitive, your overhead in terms of rent is going to be of significant importance. Have you talked to a bank? Knowing your budget may be what determines location. I have family not far from Jupiter, FL beautiful area on the intercoastal islands. Plenty of money there, but with that also comes expensive land. 

 

 

I haven't talked to any banks yet but I am planning on doing so this spring before I head down to Florida. Without thinking in terms of money, my first choice would be the Broward County area but that is way to pricy and competitive when compared to Manatee County. 

I do like the greenhouse idea, and I will most definitely invest in that. I have heard way to many stories of an entire palm inventory being killed off because of a freak winter. 

On 11/13/2018, 8:03:57, redant said:

I can't imagine making a living running a nursey in FL, palms are dirt cheap, my neighbor has a couple hundred 6 foot of trunk triple Adonidia palms, can't sell them for $50

It depends on the species. Sabal palmetto, Serenoa repens, and Adonidia like you mentioned are dirt cheap and hard to sell.  

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redant

Been in FL 35 years and into palms for over 25. My daughter and her husband have a very successful landscape company, they do a lot of installs. This is what we both have come to realize, 99% of people in FL no nothing about palms and could care less really what's planted. Plant me something cheap is usually the thing they want. I think Jeff Searle once said his rainforest collection of exotic palms, the best I have ever seen in FL is not the money maker at his nursery, it's his passion but not what keeps the nursey going. I had grown a lot of exotic palms that I sold from my house just for fun as I always have seeds. I gave up doing it realizing most people really don't care. 

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NC_Palms
3 hours ago, redant said:

Been in FL 35 years and into palms for over 25. My daughter and her husband have a very successful landscape company, they do a lot of installs. This is what we both have come to realize, 99% of people in FL no nothing about palms and could care less really what's planted. Plant me something cheap is usually the thing they want. I think Jeff Searle once said his rainforest collection of exotic palms, the best I have ever seen in FL is not the money maker at his nursery, it's his passion but not what keeps the nursey going. I had grown a lot of exotic palms that I sold from my house just for fun as I always have seeds. I gave up doing it realizing most people really don't care. 

Thanks for the advice. Before I get settled down in Florida I want to figure what is the best money maker. I have been selling palms online for quite some time and doing so has helped me figure out what sells best. I would like to enter the landscaping business after getting settled in Florida as well. 

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NC_Palms

Is anyone familiar with land in Parkland/Coral Springs? I think these cities are 10b

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bubba

Parkland and Coral Springs are definite 10b's (I hate USDA classification!). As an attorney, I did many closings through my lenders in Parkland. When I was highly active, it was primarily Dr.'s and well to do folks buying 5 Acre parcels for house (attendant construction loan) with horses.It was somewhat of a Broward County adjunct to Palm Beach County Wellington on a smaller and nicer scale. It was expensive.

The Pahokee area under the lip of Lake O has one of the best micro-climates in Florida. However the land is not cheap because of the intense agricultural use, it is way off the grid for traffic and you may need electric fencing and trap guns. May need a chopper for commute.

Also, Bill I greatly appreciate the picture of the cover of Florida Fruits. That was a short but very interesting book (leaflet) prominent for the early days. I believe the author was Lewis Maxwell, who was a UF professor and did several other similar publications.Old Florida. Those were the days!

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waykoolplantz

Parkland & Coral Springs are high end residental.

If you look around you may find some ag land in Davie

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NC_Palms
On 11/28/2018, 7:42:59, bubba said:

Parkland and Coral Springs are definite 10b's (I hate USDA classification!). As an attorney, I did many closings through my lenders in Parkland. When I was highly active, it was primarily Dr.'s and well to do folks buying 5 Acre parcels for house (attendant construction loan) with horses.It was somewhat of a Broward County adjunct to Palm Beach County Wellington on a smaller and nicer scale. It was expensive.

The Pahokee area under the lip of Lake O has one of the best micro-climates in Florida. However the land is not cheap because of the intense agricultural use, it is way off the grid for traffic and you may need electric fencing and trap guns. May need a chopper for commute.

Also, Bill I greatly appreciate the picture of the cover of Florida Fruits. That was a short but very interesting book (leaflet) prominent for the early days. I believe the author was Lewis Maxwell, who was a UF professor and did several other similar publications.Old Florida. Those were the days!

4

The isolation of Pahokee was a concern for me. I would prefer to be somewhere with more traffic. I think I am liking Pine Island, which was previously mentioned before, due to being a short drive into Fort Myers. Parkland would be nice in theory but after doing some more research it seems to be out of my price range.

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