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  1. Real Estate

Lennar taps into active-adult lifestyle with homes near Tampa Bay's second Crystal Lagoon

WIMUAMA — Americans are living longer and staying a lot more active than they used to. The nation's home-building industry is eager to capitalize on that trend.

Tampa-based Minto Communities has partnered with Jimmy Buffett on Margaritavilles in Daytona Beach and Hilton Head, S.C., "active-adult" communities where baby boomers can enjoy "days of endless adventure and nights of nonstop fun" inspired by Buffett's classic song.

Now Lennar, the nation's largest homebuilder, is planning its first Tampa Bay active-adult homes in a new development in southern Hillsborough County that will also feature the nation's second Crystal Lagoon.

The 855 villas and single family homes in Montage at SouthShore Bay will have floor plans designed for "aging in place," including open layouts and showers with built-in benches. But Lennar is also stressing SouthShore's amenities including trails, golf cart paths and what purportedly is the fastest WiFi connection available.

The prime attraction, though, may be the Crystal Lagoon, a six-acre, man-made lake where residents can swim, kayak or even use a small sailboat. There will also be a restaurant, swim-up bar and family beach.

"The amenities in SouthShore Bay fit the active adult lifestyle that Floridians are looking for, with a wide range of outdoor activities," said Mark Metheny, president of Lennar's Tampa division.

Housing designed for adults is nothing new but builders and developers see an enormous market for places that offer more than just shelter. The average U.S. life expectancy has increased from 68 years in 1950 to 79 years while the poverty rate for Americans 65 and older has dropped to about 10 percent.

That means baby boomers are apt to have more money and enjoy better health than their parents. As a result, many are choosing to live out their golden years in communities that offer plenty to do for like-minded adults.

In November, more than 300 prospective buyers camped out overnight to be among the first to place deposits on homes in Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona Beach. When built out, the community could have up to 6,900 homes in a tropical setting that includes speciality shops, venues for live music and restaurants serving cheeseburgers and other "signature Margaritaville-style" food.

RELATED COVERAGE: Does Tampa Bay have right latitude for a Margaritaville retirement community?

The first residents are expected to move in sometime next year and Minto, the developer, is scouting sites for other Margaritavilles. The Tampa Bay area meets many of the announced criteria — a coastal location, a major airport and access to good health care.

Lennar's active-adult homes in Montage at SouthShore Bay will start in the mid $200,000s. The single family homes will range from 1,683 to 2,775 square feet with the largest having three bedrooms and three-car garages. The one- and two-story villas will have one-car garages.

RELATED COVERAGE: Nation's first Crystal Lagoon to open in spring 2018 in Wesley Chapel

All of the homes will be close to the Crystal Lagoon, which will contain millions of gallons of clear purified water. The nation's first Crystal Lagoon is under construction in Epperson, a Pasco County community where Lennar is also building homes.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate

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