The head of the 92,000-acre Babcock Ranch project, approved for tens of thousands of homes and 6-million square feet of commercial development in Charlotte and Lee counties, said he laid off close to half of his planning staff last week. But Syd Kitson insists that despite tough times, it's "full steam ahead" for one of Florida's largest developments. Kitson paid $700-million for the rural Babcock property three years ago and sold three-quarters back to the state as preservation land for $350-million. Kitson said the slump also hasn't changed his plans to hunt out property in the Tampa Bay area. In September, he announced a deal with Chicago's Evergreen Real Estate Partners to spend up to $750-million in anticipation of a 2011 real estate turnaround.