Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ave Maria: Have some Jesus with your retirement community

ABC News had a segment Saturday night on a "faith-based" community being developed in Collier County Florida (east of Naples) named Ave Maria. While not being set up or marketed as a Florida retirement community, it might be a place for "true believers" to consider settling down into their retirement years.

One of the men heading and funding the development is Tom "30 minutes or less" Monaghan, founder of Domino's pizza. As a devout Catholic, Tom's vision for Ave Maria is for it to be a faith based community... The ABC segment even dubbed it "a City of God". The centerpiece of the community will be a Catholic University, Ave Maria University comprising 20% of the 5,000 acre development. According to the community's website Ave Maria University is "the first new major Catholic University in the United States in 40 years."

The planned 11,000 homes are being built by the Pulte Family of Homebuilders (Pulte, Del Webb, and DiVosta). The community uses the "town center" concept (everything within walking or biking distance from your home), which is growing in popularity across the country.

The community has not been without controversy, as the ACLU and others are keeping a close eye on it to make sure that no civil rights laws are being broken. As a real estate broker, I see the potential of Fair Housing law problems creeping up for real estate salespeople selling homes in Ave Maria. Hopefully Pulte Homes and others will take strong measures to ensure their salespeople are highly aware of potential problems in this area, and trained on how to avoid them.

More info:,_Florida