IStar Re-Visions Big-Water Community | Naples Reserve


Posted on February 12, 2016

Sparkling lakes almost as far as the eye can see, gracious Southern Coastal homes, and amenities in tune with buyers seeking a unique lifestyle weren’t included in the original plan for Naples Reserve’s 688 acres.


Instead, it was the vision of iStar CEO Jay Sugarman and his team that reimagined a planned golf course community to introduce the spirit of barefoot luxury and life lived well along the water’s edge.


iStar, named 2015 Developer of the Year by Builder and Developer magazine, acquired Naples Reserve after the housing market collapse. Instead of selling the property, Sugarman assembled a land-management team to evaluate the company’s real estate holdings and determine where it could create sustainable communities.


At Naples Reserve, Jan Cooper and Don Mears saw great potential in the former tomato fields: a northern border brushing against the 76,000-acre Picayune Strand State Forest and the opportunity to significantly decrease the environmental impact by replacing golf with 245 acres of open water.


“Jay realized iStar had great properties in good locations and good markets,” said Cooper, vice president of strategic marketing and planning. “I shopped the competition in Naples, visiting the best-selling communities to get a sense of land design and community focus. There was an over-abundance of golf.”


Mears, vice president of land and development, has decades of planning, development and environmental experience in Florida. He recognized replacing the golf course for a water-themed master-planned community would save 63 million gallons of water annually.


“From a planning standpoint, we realized water was a better amenity than another golf course,” Mears said. “Our plan was a home run, received with open arms, especially by the South Florida Water Management District.”


The team conceived a community harkening back to Florida’s old beach towns with homes and amenity buildings featuring Southern Coastal architecture, a color palette inspired by Key West and unique streetscapes shaded by mature palms and a mix of homes that appear built by different craftsmen.


“This is how homebuyers from the North picture Florida,” Mears said. “We knew the community would have large water areas.”


Naples Reserve features 22 lakes, including the 125-acre Eagle Lake with its destination Lost Island and a one-mile stretch along the state forest. A 70-acre nature preserve greets guests at the community’s U.S. 41 entry, 2 miles southeast of the Collier Boulevard/CR 951 intersection and 10 minutes from I-75, Exit 101.


iStar has completed construction of Naples Reserve’s initial amenities, including 245 acres of open water, the gatehouse, a large tiki hut on Lost Island and the Outrigger Welcome Center, offering a wraparound waterfront porch and floating docks.


Naples Reserve’s active and leisurely lifestyle will be enhanced by a tennis and pickle ball complex and the under-construction Lakeshore Club boasting two sparkling pools, a 4,700-square-foot community center and a separate 3,400-square-foot fitness club.


“People are really amazed by the lakes and the architecture,” said Cooper. “They say it’s hard to believe they’re in Naples, because the ambience is so different, unlike anything else in the market.”


Lakes provide a recreational venue for paddlers and scenic vistas from many of the community’s planned 1,154 single-family homes.


For more information, stop by the Outrigger Welcome Center at 14891 Naples Reserve Circle, call 239-732-1414 or visit

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