Today Ocala housing demand is off the charts. However, opportunity almost passed us by. Many years ago, an entertainment industry giant imagined a new Ocala. He could see into our future, and what he saw was truly visionary. Marion County would be the second coming of Disneyland, albeit on a much grander scale. Surrounded by forests and hundreds of bodies of water, ours is a community of rolling hills and green pastures. Soon this place where horse farms abound would be home to amazing technological wonders. It would be home to Florida’s Disney World.
However, the people of Ocala did not share Walt Disney’s dream. They saw his vision as a threat to their bucolic existence. Could horse farms coexist happily with world class amusement parks? They feared not. So Ocala declined the once in a century opportunity Walt Disney put before them. Therefore, he continued on his way to another sleepy Florida village. Orlando, of course!
The W.E.C., Economic Growth & Ocala Housing Demand
A few years ago another visionary presented his dream to the people of Ocala. He would build a World Equestrian Center in the heart of the Horse Capital of the World. It would be a network of over twenty arenas which will feature world class international equestrian events. However, Larry Roberts was no stranger to our community. He had developed Golden Ocala, an ultra luxurious equestrian community in the northwest quadrant of our town. In fact, he had succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations but his own. Additionally, Mr. Roberts was a horse lover, so he was viewed as a member of the club. To be sure, our community also embraced his vision of making Ocala the focal point of the equestrian world. So this time they welcomed the dreamer with open arms.
The Dream Requires Ocala Housing & Infrastructure
As Mr. Roberts moved forward with the building of his dream, another visionary introduced a different dream to our town. Ken Colen, CEO of On Top of the World, set out to build a world class aquatic center in Ocala. Now both of these facilities have opened and their impact on our community will be astounding.
There are already signs that our economy is on fire and Ocala is indeed becoming a global destination. Our airport has set records for the number of aircraft that have utilized it and the gallons of fuel sold. Additionally, by the end of October of 2021, year over year tourist tax revenues doubled. Amazingly, as of that date the World Equestrian Center had only been open for five months. Additionally, the aquatic center was still under construction. Imagine their impact when both of these facilities are open twelve months of the year.
Of course, as tourists come, others fill jobs directly at these facilities and indirectly in supporting industries. Since they will require places to live, demand for Ocala housing is sure to soar. Therefore, both from lifestyle and economic points of view, Ocala is indeed a great place to call home.
Below are three articles that will introduce you to projects springing from the demand created by these two facilities. One describes a historic restoration with economic implications. The second describes one of many communities being developed to meet local housing demand. The third demonstrates that the economic impact of the World Equestrian Center and the Aquatic Center is already being felt. Enjoy reading.
Local philanthropists and real estate developers, David and Lisa Midgett have announced their intentions. They plan to restore the tallest building downtown, 108 N. Magnolia Avenue, the historic Marion Hotel. … Continue reading
New 5,000-home Calesa Township will bring family-oriented vibes to the State Road 200 corridor. Learn more on OCALA GAZETTE.
According to a report provided by the Tourist Development Council, in the year ended September 2021 tax revenues jumped. Marion county generated nearly $3.7 million in cash flow from the Tourist Development Tax. Learn more on Ocala-News.com.
We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity, and human fulfillment are created from the bottom up. They do not flow from the government down. – Ronald Reagan
I have great respect for the partnership between the Chamber Economic Partnership, local governments and visionary entrepreneurs. It has made the future of our community an exciting one.
Andrew Kruglanski, MBA, ABD, Broker