Villages snags Lake County economic director as thousands of homes to be built in Leesburg

Robert Chandler

As The Villages prepares to make a major push into Leesburg, a Lake County governmental official is leaving his post and joining the team at Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.

Robert Chandler has served for the past three years as the director of Lake County’s Economic Growth Department which was formed in 2015 by combining the former Economic Development & Tourism and Growth Management Departments. His career in the county economic effort dates back to 2011.

Chandler holds an MBA from the University of Florida and is a 1996 graduate of Leesburg High School.

His last day on the job in Lake County is March 2.

Earlier this month, Leesburg officials took historic steps toward linking up with Florida’s Friendliest Hometown. The Villages purchased land for $11.2 million in a deal that is expected to be a financial windfall for Leesburg.

It was in Lake County that Harold Schwartz gave birth to the mobile home community that would become The Villages. But the real growth has been in Sumter County, until a few years ago when The Villages ventured back into Lake County with the Villages of Fruitland Park.