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Long-Delayed Development Moving Forward West of Ave Maria

A large-scale development on thousands of acres of land just west of the town of Ave Maria is starting to get back on track.

Collier Enterprises announced Friday that it is beginning the permitting process for a new development at the site of what was originally intended to be the Town of Big Cypress. A name for the community will be chosen at a later time and for now it is being referred to as "Rural Lands West," the company said in a news release.

Rural Lands West will be developed in partnership with Minto Communities, developer of Twin Eagles, and the first phase is described as including about 4,000 residential homes and a 150,000-square-foot town center. Future phases, which the company says will occur over the next 15-20 years, will add a variety of commercial development, recreation and entertainment options, healthcare, schools and cultural facilities.

Work on the Town of Big Cypress was originally expected to begin not long after development started on Ave Maria but plans were delayed by the downturn in the real estate market. The development was planned to stretch along what now is the two-lane section of Oil Well Rd. between Ave Maria and Everglades Blvd.

Planning, permitting and preliminary work are expected to take two to three years to complete and the company said the first residences in Phase One are expected to be available in 2018. Area residents will have numerous opportunities to discuss and comment on the plans as it winds its way through varous agencies, the Collier County Planning Commission and eventually the Board of County Commissioners.

Collier Enterprises and the Barron Collier Cos. responsible for Ave Maria both trace their heritage to Barron Gift Collier, for whom Collier County is named. They are separately managed to day by different branches of the family.

A webiste with additional information on the development can be viewed by clicking here.

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