The Villages is seeking an economic development grant from Lake County to build a $100-million project that will include a medical center, businesses and homes near the Florida Turnpike and County Road 470 in Leesburg.
University of Florida (UF) Health, which owns The Villages and Leesburg hospitals, has expressed interest in building a research hospital in the undeveloped area of The Villages south of the turnpike. A hospital also was included in plans for the area.
An agreement for the grant request will be considered Tuesday at a meeting of the Lake County Board of Commissioners. The amount of the request is not specified on the meeting agenda. Signing off on the agreement for The Villages, is The Villages Vice President for Development Robert Chandler IV, who previously served as director of Lake County’s Economic Growth Department. He left Lake County in 2018 to join The Villages.
“The fiscal impact cannot be determined at this time but grant payments will be calculated as a percentage of the ad valorem taxes paid on real or tangible property,” according to memo from Kimberly Haskins, county financial coordinator.
The property straddles the Lake-Sumter county line with about 240 acres in Lake County and about 195 acres in Sumter County. The Lake County property is part of 1,000 acres that Leeseburg sold to The Villages in 2017.
Besides the hospital, other uses will include heath care, “translational science,” retail, commercial and residential. Translational research is geared to solving specific problems.
Dubbed the Go West Project, the development is expected to generate at least 100 jobs at or above the county’s average wage.
Built in phases, the project’s first phase is expected to begin later this year or in early 2022. The total investment by The Villages and other businesses is expected to be at least $100 million.
The developer’s grant award of the Lake County Economic Development and Business Incentive program is designed to support new and existing businesses that preserve or expand employment, promote economic activity and improve the welfare of residents.
The Villages, which will be required to seek approval for each specific use in the Go West project, is expected to begin construction soon of 3,000 homes on its Leesburg property.