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Daytona’s Latitude Margaritaville ‘town center’ to open June 8

DAYTONA BEACH — Latitude Margaritaville will hold an open-to-the-public grand opening celebration for the first phase of the new Latitude Town Center amenities complex at the Jimmy Buffett-themed 55-and-older community here next Saturday.

The June 8 event, from noon to 4 p.m., will include live music, dancing, food and refreshments, games, prize giveaways and model home tours.

The nearly 25-acre residents-only town center next to the gated-community’s entrance includes a Latitude Bar & Chill restaurant and Changes in Attitude Bar, a Fins Up fitness center, a resort-style community pool, a bandshell stage that includes a large-screen television and outdoor dance floor, pickleball and tennis courts as well as a multi-purpose sports court, and a walking trail with outdoor fitness stations.

“Latitude Margaritaville is redefining the approach to active adult communities with a no-worries lifestyle of fun, food and music for those 55-and-better who are growing older, but not up,” said Bill Bullock, president of Minto Communities’ Latitude Margaritaville division.

Minto is developing the planned 3,400-home community along the north side of LPGA Boulevard, west of Interstate 95, in partnership with Margaritaville Holdings, the global lifestyle branding company co-owned by singer-songrwriter Jimmy Buffett.

The sales center for Latitude Margaritaville is at 2400 LPGA Blvd.

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Daytona Beach Latitude Margaritaville grows at red-hot pace

DAYTONA BEACH — Latitude Margarita helped propel housing starts in Volusia County last year to the highest level since 2005.

The Jimmy Buffett-themed “55-and-better” community in Daytona Beach, which welcomed its first residents in March 2018 sold an impressive 412 homes last year.

The 373 building permits issued last year for new homes at Latitude Margaritaville accounted for one out every eight new homes started in Volusia County, according to Volusia Building Industry Association statistics.

Latitude Margaritaville is off to an even stronger pace so far this year.

Through the first two months of 2019, Minto Communities, Margaritaville’s developer, has pulled 134 permits for new homes.

That’s an average of 17 a week for Margaritaville — one out of every three permits issued countywide.

“I would think that’s unprecedented in Volusia County,” said local observer Ronnie Bledsoe, an Ormond Beach developer who has worked in the local construction industry more than 40 years.

Helping drive the active adult community’s growth in new home sales has been the national attention it has received since its launch, thanks to its connection to singer-songwriter Buffett, whose tunes about laidback living in the tropics serves as the inspiration for Latitude Margaritaville.

The community’s strong start has also earned it a number of industry awards.

After being named earlier this year by Chicago-based 55Places.com as the nation’s top 55-plus community of 2018, Latitude Margaritaville in late February won several more awards from the National Association of Home Builders including “55+ Community of the Year.”

The Washington, D.C.-based trade association also named Minto the nation’s Builder of the Year and Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach won the NAHB’s gold medal for best sales/welcome center as well as awards for home design, landscaping and marketing.

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Margaritaville named nation’s top 55+ community

DAYTONA BEACH — The New York Times recently reported that “The Future of Aging Just Might be in Margaritaville,” but for residents of this fast-growing active adult community, the future has already arrived.

On Thursday, representatives of Chicago-based 55places.com presented the developer of Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach with an award as the nation’s most popular 55-and-older community in 2018.

The award comes on the heels of Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach’s inclusion in another industry ranking of the nation’s top 50 master-planned communities of 2018.

The community going up on the north side of LPGA Boulevard, just west of Interstate 95, last year sold 412 homes, with roughly half built to date.

“It’s more than we expected, which was around 350,” said Bill Bullock, president of developer Minto Communities’ Latitude Margaritaville division.

Latitude Margaritaville welcomed its first residents in March 2018 and is now home to more than 400.

“In the morning, I’ll wake up and pinch my husband to make sure we’re not dreaming,” said Donna Waryga, 62, who moved to Latitude Margaritaville from the Philadelphia area with her husband Walt, 66, in November.

“It has been way beyond our wildest expectations,” the self-employed travel agent who works out of her home said of living in the Jimmy Buffett-themed active adult community.

Waryga said the opportunity to live near the beach and the planned amenities, including a residents-only town center and private beach club were what initially appealed her and her husband.

But what they have found they enjoy most about living at Latitude Margaritaville are the other residents.

“The people, we love everybody on our street. We feel the camaraderie,” she said, adding that they typically wind up chatting extensively with neighbors whenever they pick up their mail and enjoy going on organized outings including bowling at Ormond Lanes or Happy Hour visits to nearby restaurants such as Bahama Breeze or 31 Supper Club.

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55places.com Names Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach as Best 55+ Community of 2018

With island-inspired amenities, carefree luxury and a dreamy location, Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach is providing a new kind of ‘paradise’ when it comes to active adult communities. It’s no wonder, then, 55places.com, a leading resource for active adult communities across the country, named the Minto development as Best 55+ Community of 2018.

Like other awards bestowed from the company, website traffic, home sales, and offered amenities, are some of the factors considered before selecting a recipient. Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach, inspired by the music and lifestyle instilled from acclaimed musician Jimmy Buffett, is the first of its kind to take active adult communities to the mainstream, appealing to both “Parrotheads”—a nickname deemed for fans of the performer—as well as those who just appreciate they are growing older, but don’t have to grow up. This ingrained mindset is bringing the conversation about active adult communities to the forefront, and changing perceptions about retirement—and by extension senior living—by providing a new boat to sail on.

“There can be preconceived notions associated with aging, but Minto recognizes that today’s generation is different, and empowers its audience to redefine what living life to the fullest can mean,” said Bill Ness, CEO and founder of 55places.com. “The idyllic state painted by the Latitude Margaritaville brand is intentional, and to many of its residents, is depicted accurately.”

In addition to the engaging lifestyle and various collections of well-designed colorful homes, there is an abundance of social events, meaning camaraderie is alive and well.

“We’re focused on four pillars which is food, fun, music and escapism,” said William Bullock, president of Minto’s Latitude Margaritaville division. “Which, if you talk to our current residents, is what we’re already delivering. We’re attempting to offer as much fun and energy that you may want on any given day.”

Though doors opened in early 2018 and the 500th home was sold last October, the community is still in development, but will eventually offer unmatched access to impressive amenities, including the Latitude Town Square, Fins Up! Fitness Center, Latitude Bar & Chill Restaurant, Barkaritaville Pet Spa & Dog Park, and Paradise Pool, all of which is slated to open on schedule April of 2019.

Daytona Beach is just one of three current known Latitude Margaritaville locations—Hilton Head, South Carolina welcomed residents in November and Watersound in Florida, is slated to open in 2020. But that seems to be just the beginning. Bullock also shared there is intent to expand the brand’s footprint in 2019.

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The Longevity Economy: Why Seniors Are a Fast-Growing Emerging Market

It’s the mother of all untapped markets: the world’s 65-plus population. Already at a historical high of over 600 million people, it’s projected to hit a full billion by 2030, and 1.6 billion by 2050.

And unlike many other fast-growing markets, this expansion will take place primarily in wealthy countries. As a result, the sheer amount of money involved nearly defies comprehension. In the U.S. alone, the spending of Americans ages 50 and up in 2015 accounted for nearly $8 trillion worth of economic activity. The Boston Consulting Group projects that by 2030, the U.S. 55-plus population will have accounted for half of all domestic consumer spending growth since the Great Recession, a number that rises to 67% in Japan and 86% in Germany.

The longevity economy, then, is the emerging market to rule them all: the size of a new continent rising from the sea, populated with eager consumers but seemingly without the usual emerging market uncertainties. After all, the demographic seeds of our older future were sown long ago in the form of rising life expectancies, falling fertility rates, and (in many countries) a postwar baby boom now striding toward its later years. There may be other major changes coming to the world’s economies—the rise of artificial intelligence, for instance, or the effects of climate change—but in terms of sheer, mind-numbing predictability, the longevity economy beats them all.

The obvious response to a predictably growing market is to produce more of what that market is already buying. But sometimes, the appearance of certainty breeds complacency.

Take the senior housing market. To talk to anyone in the real estate investment community just a few years ago, money could find no safer resting place than senior housing. But despite the burgeoning older population, senior-housing occupancy is currently at its lowest since 2011.

It’s possible that the bulk of the demand is still incoming—baby boomers have yet to replace the Silent Generation class of residents—but there’s more to it than that. Many older adults, increasingly aided and connected by such tech services as Uber, Amazon.com , TaskRabbit, and social media, are finding it easier to remain in their homes instead of moving to a specialized setting. And for those who would prefer to move, the staid offerings of traditional elder communities pale in comparison to special-interest communities aimed at their wants. Jimmy Buffett’s Latitude Margaritaville retirement community in Daytona Beach, Fla., which opened in 2017, with an ethos built on booze, guitars, and boats, is reportedly selling units far fasterthan its developer originally anticipated.

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THE FUTURE OF AGING JUST MIGHT BE IN MARGARITAVILLE

Off a vacant stretch of highway in Daytona Beach, Fla., a line began to form outside the sales center for the first Latitude Margaritaville “55 and better” community. Those waiting dragged folding chairs, coolers, tents and dog-eared brochures featuring numbered sites that, in just over 24 hours, they could stake a claim to for a $10,000 deposit. The mood, shortly after 8 a.m. one Sunday last November, was festive, ecstatic even. Drinks flowed, pizza appeared, a steel-drum band played into the balmy night. Some neighbors in the 300-person queue liked each other so much that they decided to become actual neighbors, switching their site choices to live closer together. A sense of destiny seemed to guide many of their decisions. Karen Goodwin, 55, a homemaker, had won the exact amount of the down payment a few weeks earlier in a Domino’s sweepstakes. Matt Kelly, 62, a retired firefighter, had been chipping ice off his shingles in Orange County, N.Y., when a chunk broke loose in the shape of the Sunshine State, which he took as a sign.

“I never thought I’d be in a 55-plus community,” Ruth Kelly, 61, a former real estate agent and Matt’s wife, said the following September. The three of us were sitting at a table in the dining room of the home the Kellys had secured on Cool Breeze Drive, a single-family unit with the L-shaped lanai that Ruth had had her eye on. “Being in real estate, I didn’t think I would do what we did, wait in line for 11 hours. I always told my customers: ‘Never buy in Phase 1. Never buy sight-unseen.’ I did all of that. But I never once had doubt. Not once did I feel that way. It was meant to be, I really believe that.”

Outside, under an endless blue sky, a parade of trucks bore the trappings of former homes from as far away as Hawaii, Canada and El Salvador to sorbet-colored dwellings with emerald green lawns. At the entrance to the gated enclave, past a “Barkaritaville” dog park, beeping excavators moved dirt around what would soon be a town-square for concerts and dancing, surrounded by a state-of-the-art workout center, a restaurant and a walk-in pool with cabanas and a bar. It was impossible to stand on their cement foundations — which I had, in fact, done that morning — and not see a frontier settlement being carved into an expanse of subtropical wetland. The real frontier here, though, was not the surrounding wilderness but a hitherto uncolonized stretch of time: the multiple decades that more and more Americans can expect to live in better and better health after they retire. What will these pioneers do? Who will they become? And how will that, in turn, alter the course of human history?

Like all pioneer settlements, however, Margaritaville is not just a place but an idea — an imagined utopia, in this case inspired by a Jimmy Buffett song’s reference to a frozen cocktail. Historically, such extreme aspirational-lifestyle experiments have had an outsize influence on our cultural imagination: It would be hard to call Jamestown, one cradle of our democracy, a practical project; same goes for the squalid boomtowns of the Gold Rush, which helped define the American dream. What intrigued me about Margaritaville was the specificity of its promise — a retirement based on music Buffett has described as “drunken Caribbean rock ‘n’ roll” — and the fact that it is still under construction. I could actually meet the early colonists as they went about pursuing their vision.

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Daytona’s Latitude Margaritaville gets OK to build more homes

Zoning unanimously approved for 2nd phase which would nearly double Daytona project to 6,650

DAYTONA BEACH — Having recently sold its 500th home in just 11 months, the developer of the Latitude Margaritaville community going up along LPGA Boulevard is now one step closer to extending it north to State Road 40.

The Daytona Beach City Commission on Wednesday night voted unanimously to approve the comprehensive plan zoning for developer Minto Communities’ planned second phase of its Jimmy Buffett-themed “55-and-better” community.

The 1,614 acres Minto has under contract to buy from landowner Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. now has city approval for up to 3,250 homes, which would double the size of the fast-growing Latitude Margaritaville community on the west side of Interstate 95.

The 1,581-acre first phase, which Minto paid $27.2 million to acquire from Consolidated-Tomoka in February 2017, is zoned to allow up to 3,400 homes.

“It’s obviously good news and shows the progress of phase one,” said John Albright, the president and CEO of Consolidated-Tomoka.

Noting the fast-pace of home sales at Latitude Margaritaville, which is now zoned to allow up to 6,650 homes, Albright said, “It’s probably the most successful development in the United States right now.”

As of Monday, 184 homes have now been built at the Daytona Beach community with another 130 currently under construction, said Bill Bullock, president of Minto’s Latitude Margaritaville division, which includes a similarly Jimmy Buffett-themed active-adult community being built in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Bullock said his company is stepping up new home construction activity to an average of 11 new starts a week beginning this month, up from its previous average of nine per week.

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‘Power of Jimmy Buffett,’ Daytona area’s affordabilty draw newcomers

DAYTONA BEACH — Lana Byer is amazed at how fast Latitude Margaritaville is growing.

She’s reminded of it every time she checks her mailbox at the new Jimmy Buffett-themed 55-and-older community where she lives, and sees all the homes going up around her.

“I’m shocked at the progress,” the 71-year-old retiree from Pittsburgh said. “The homes are going up so quickly.”

In April, Byer became one of the first residents at the planned 6,650-home Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona Beach. The maintenance-free active adult community is taking shape on the north side of LPGA Boulevard, just west of Interstate 95.

In early October, Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach sold its 500th home, reaching that milestone in just 11 months.

That’s more than a half year ahead of original projections, said Bill Bullock, president of developer Minto Communities’ Latitude Margaritaville division.

And the growth isn’t just limited to Latitude Margaritaville.

New home construction activity throughout Volusia and Flagler counties is on the fastest pace in more than a decade.

Through the first nine months of this year, 2,134 permits have been issued for new homes in Volusia County, already exceeding the total for all of last year.

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Jimmy Buffett makes surprise visit to Daytona’s Margaritaville

DAYTONA BEACH — Latitude Margaritaville residents Kelley and Bill Sarantis were told last week to expect a visit from “some people from corporate.”

The couple assumed that meant the developers of the Jimmy Buffett-inspired 55-and-older community.

On Thursday morning, they were surprised to find out the guest knocking on their front door was none other than the singer-songwriter himself.

“I walked from the kitchen and saw out the window that it was Jimmy Buffett,” recalled Kelley Sarantis. “He said, ‘Hey, neighbor!’”

The Sarantises were one of several Latitude Margaritaville homeowners Buffett met with Thursday morning.

His visit included a tour of the active adult community’s model homes as well as having lunch at the new beachside Landshark Bar & Grill on State Road A1A.

Buffett, whose primary residence is in New York City, purchased a house in the gated Latitude Margaritaville community. That house is nearing completion, said Kelley Sarantis.

“His home is beautiful,” said Kelley Sarantis, who also works as a Realtor.

“He had a design team at his home on Thursday that was getting ready to decorate so I anticipate he’ll spend some time there,” she said.

The Sarantises gave Buffett a tour of their home and then sat down to chat with him for 20 minutes while munching on watermelon and berries.

Buffett also played with the couple’s two dogs and showed them photos of his dogs on his smart phone.

He asked the couple how they liked living at Latitude Margaritaville, the planned 6,600-home community that welcomed its first residents in March.

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Real-life Margaritaville wows parrothead retirees

DAYTONA BEACH — Near the corner of Latitude Drive and Margaritaville Avenue, 72-year-old Jack Conroy explained why he wouldn’t mind spending the rest of his years surrounded by all things Jimmy Buffett.

“It’d be a good lifestyle,” he said, following a sign that pointed “This Way to Paradise” and nine model homes replete with images of parrots, flip-flops and surfboards. Bottles of “Mango Margaritaville Mix” evoked happy thoughts of wasting away on tequila and cheeseburgers as Buffett’s voice crooned from hidden speakers:

That old sun is hot and that old clock is moving slow.

If there is one thing that is not moving slow, it is Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach, Florida’s newest 55-and older retirement community. A collaboration of Buffett’s Margaritaville Holdings and Tampa-based Minto Communities USA, it has enjoyed a reception nothing short of phenomenal ever since it was announced a year ago.

When the sales center opened in November, more than 200 Parrotheads — as Buffett’s fans are known — camped overnight for the chance to put a deposit on one of the first 378 lots available.

On the last weekend in February, 3,000 people showed up for the opening of the model homes.

And every day since, droves of prospective buyers and curiosity seekers have been pulling off nearby 1-95, climbing on shuttle buses marked “Latitude” and riding out to the site where residents will start moving in next month.

For the over-55 set, Margaritaville Daytona Beach is becoming a bona fide tourist attraction.

“There’s huge interest,” says Bill Bullock, Minto’s senior vice president. “We’re seeing crowds like a destination-level attraction.”

Susan and Arthur Lydick of Jacksonville, “big partiers in our day,” arrived on a recent Thursday morning and spent 40 minutes wandering in and out of the Key West-style models, professionally staged and painted in Easter egg pastels. The actual homes will be about 1,500- to 2,500- square feet and range from the low $200,000s to the mid $300,000s.

“The pricing is good for us,” said Susan, who wants to downsize from their 3,000-square-foot house. Her husband, who uses a cane, likes the idea of driving a golf cart to the town center, which will include a grocery, Latitude Bar & Grill and a Barkaritaville pet salon. Shuttles will ferry residents to a private beach 15 minutes away.

Showing the couple around was Daytona Beach real estate agent Marc Greenberg. Since the models opened Feb. 24, he’s averaged four trips a week to Margaritaville with clients.

“It’s been amazing,” he said. “The vibe is youthful, everyone who comes in is so excited and overwhelmed by what the project is going to be. The prices are really nice.”

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