Yeehaw Junction, population 244, could soon be home to the state's 2nd largest retirement community.
According to an article on GrowthSpotter (paywall), developer Sun Terra Communities is under contract to purchase a 14,212 ranch and plans to build golf courses, town squares, activity centers, and around 34,000 homes.
Sounds a lot like some other place I know 😉
If everything goes according to plan, the community named Freedom, would be the 2nd biggest retirement community in Florida behind The Villages.
Where do you put 34,000 homes in Florida? The middle of nowhere!
Yeehaw Junction is in Osceola County and is considered to be part of the Orlando-Kissimmee Metropolitan Statistical Area, but it is a solid hour drive from Orlando to Yeehaw Junction via the Florida Turnpike. It's also about 30 minutes from the east coast and Vero Beach which is not too bad.
There's just not a whole lot around. You wouldn't move to Freedom and Yeehaw Junction because of what's there now. You would move there because of what you think it could potentially become in the future. For some retirees that's exciting and they have the willingness and patience to take a chance on being one of the first residents, while others will go the safer route and set their sights on communities in more established areas. If you fall into the latter group, this list of 55+ communities in Orlando might be helpful.
As I mentioned up top, the list of amenities reads like those you see in The Villages. Why reinvent the wheel? Everybody knows The Villages is the best selling community in the country, and the amenities they offer are a big part of that.
The proposed site plan includes both Championship and Executive golf courses, town squares with restaurants, shopping, and entertainment, about 5 million square feet of commercial space, activity centers, parks, community pools, grocery stores, medical offices, and more.
Like The Villages, the community will be golf cart friendly, but the most interesting thing to me is the proposed network of interconnected waterways designed to provide miles of private boat or community water taxi access between many of Freedom's residential neighborhoods and town squares and activity centers.
It's far too early to know exactly what the homes will be like in Freedom, but the site plan shows a mix of mostly single-family homes and a few pockets of multi-family homes. Those could potentially be apartments, condos, or townhouses.
As far as prices are concerned, I have to imagine they'll need to get pretty aggressive on the pricing compared to other communities in order to entice people to jump and take a chance on a whole new area.
There are a bunch of retirees who are looking for places to retire in Florida in that $200k price range, but not a whole lot of new communities exist for them anymore. Perhaps these folks could be Freedom's target market.
Not a Sure Thing
Freedom achieving its goal of becoming Florida's second-largest retirement community is far from a done deal. This is not the first time developers have set their sights on Yeehaw Junction for mass development.
A group that included Subway co-founder Fred DeLuca tried unsuccessfully to bring an even bigger 27,000-acre project named “Destiny” to Yeehaw Junction in the early 2000s but the project never got off the ground, in part due to resistance from the Florida Department of Community Affairs, but also bad timing and the start of the Great Recession.
Mr. DeLuca died in 2015, and in 2020 his wife and family donated all 27,000 acres to the University of Florida Foundation and it is now known as DeLuca Preserve.
Freedom won't have to contend with the Florida Department of Community Affairs because Gov. Rick Scott and legislators did away with it in 2011, calling it “a job killer”, but what the economy will bring the next few years is anybody's guess.
Assuming Freedom eventually does get the green light, I'd count on it taking a while for construction to ramp up. With a lack of manpower in this immediate area, Freedom will likely have to attract construction workers and trades crews from both the Orlando and coastal areas. That will take time.
My Question for You
Do you have a pioneering spirit and would you be willing to take a chance on a community like this in a completely undeveloped area?
Or do you think you'll stick with communities in areas that already have a proven track record?
Let me know by leaving a comment down below!
If they’re smart, they’ll make one neighborhood (with apartments and houses) exclusively for younger families and singles to move there and provide the workers that will be needed.
I think it’s a splendid idea, I hope it comes to fruition. As the aging population in Florida ramps up you will certainly have huge interest in such a community. I am in looking forward to more information as the time goes by.
Realistically, prices would be way higher than 200k given the location and current market. I envision at least $500k. Plus it’ll take about 10 years to develop. That said, sounds pretty good to me.
Lori Newburg says
An affordable planned community is SO needed! Not all retirees have 600k to dump into a new home. Keep us posted!
I lived in the villages for 10 years and loved it. Would like more info on new development and possibly move back to Florida. Let me know
WALTER P PADOVAN says
Yes i would be very interested in this. keep an eye on this one.
Looking forward to it Broward county is just too crowded.
Sounds wonderful! Need more info. Definitely a need for more attractive patio/viila styles than the Villages & Townhouses/Condos/Appartments that are not available in the Villages. Timeline on development would be helpful.
Diana & Mark Boettger says
Yes sir would/will consider it, plan on retiring in 3 years. Hope they start by then.
Peter Campbell says
Sounds interesting. Need more info. When will it be completed for people to move in??
Kathleen J Whittaker says
Please keep me informed. I would like more info particularly regarding prices and expected time lines for completion, as well as tax rates, community fees, etc..
The Villages, where I reside, is literally in the middle of no where plus closest beach is 1.5 hours away. That’s why it’s so hard to find staffing for a community that expanded too much to now 135,000 population, with the size doubling in the future. Not enough medical or many other services easily. Closest real shopping is Orlando for a real mall, about an hour.
Having lived in Palm Beach County and knowing the location very near Vero, Melbourne, etc plus the beaches and not so far from South Orlando/ Kissimmee, I’d definitely consider the newly announced project. Right near the Turnpike for easy access to so much for residents and employees. By the time they get it underway, there will be more building of commercial areas going up. A much needed project in addition to Tradition that’s the largest project to the south
Martin Kremer says
Yes! interested in the possible mutli-family construction—thinking about a condo or small townhouse–looking, looking. thanks for at least thinking about the group—me included—looking for construction in the $200,000 range
Ralph Luyando says
Would llike to give it a shot! I am in…..
STARGAZING IS OVER! Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is in the area and is a International Dark Sky site. https://www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/parks/kissimmeeprairie/
This area has some of the darkest skies in Florida (besides offshore islands) and let me tell you it is special. The stargazing on a rich black background— You can see the stars between the stars. There’s just nothing in your way in terms of city lights. Dark skies are dead and WILL NEVER RETURN if this development goes through. Think before you act!
Diane. Livingstone says
If I was a lot younger and nearing retirement I would definitely consider buying here. A good time to invest when it is in the beginning stages.
Garry Hughes says
The only problem I have with it is state route 60 between Yeehaw Junction and Indian River Estates is a dangerous section of roadway. Unless they plan to make it 4 lanes it’s gonna be even more dangerous. I hope they have given that some thought.
Suzy C says
I am looking to retire in about 10 years, I’d be interested if thus project gets moving. I don’t care about golf, but the waterways would be fun.
Ilissa Orvieto says
Sounds wonderful, but I never would buy a home in a community where the amenities weren’t built yet. Years ago, when looking into communities, there was one that people bought homes with the promise of the clubhouse being built within a certain timeframe and it was five years later that it was finally completed. They need to build the amenities first and then the homes!
Robert Graves says
I don’t see them building an “affordable” retirement community with all of those amenities that are being proposed. Those amenities (Town Square, golf, pools) require people to go out and spend money and usually pretty hefty ( HOA/Amenity fees. I live in The Villages and EVERYTHING is getting very expensive. House prices, amenity fees, dining, etc. have all gone up. It’s not due to the “Developer’s Greed”. It’s due to worker shortages, supply inflation, etc. If you want to get anything done on your house it now costs a lot more. I don’t see it being any different in Freedom. The Developer there will have to pay top dollar to entice builders to go there. The restaurants will have to pay top dollar for their staff to go there. Why work in a restaurant serving cheap food to people without money when you can work in Vero Beach, Melbourne, Stuart, or Orlando? Fortunately there are a number of smaller more affordable retirement communities in Florida. I’ve looked at a few around The Villages and if this inflation keeps going where I can’t afford to live here any longer, I plan on going to one of these more affordable options. Sorry for being so long winded. JMHO.
Andrea Bonivich says
Who is going to work at all these amenities? 255 locals won’t cover it.
We are looking to retire in 3 to 5 years. Love your location! We would like to condo prices lower then $200,000. I know that’s wishful thinking…
Roy Vazquez says
I’m game, but yes price is very important.
Put me in Coach !!
Definitely interested if the price is right low 200’s! Hopefully this takes off sooner rather than later! Been waiting for the right place with the right price!
Darlene Vassall says
I would agree with what Lorraine has said. A small villa or cottage would be very nice. A single senior living on retirement and a small pension that we could afford would be a blessing for us . Hope if they decide to built a retirement development they would consider building these types of homes. Thank you.
Sandy Minke says
We would be interested in this area and price is definetly important.
Rao Palanki says
Looks great… I am interested in a CCRC (continuous care retirement community) facility; please let me know if this is included in your project.
Glynn Barbee says
Very very interested! I am retired and ready to move to Fla. I like the idea of being first on the flagship. Love the canal idea and golf very much.
Penny L says
we would be interested if the price would remain affordable in the low $200k area. We are looking for a nice golf course community that is not ridiculously priced. we currently live in Vero so this is not too far of a change for us.
Gail martin says
I would be interested if it were an “affordable” rental community for seniors.
Something where the rent includes all utilities i.e. cable, internet, Central A/C, Heat, water, sewer and trash!
A small cottage w/ covered parking, Washer and Dryer or at least the hook ups. A screened in porch.
Patio off the kitchen where I can have a grill.
And room to store things like Holiday decorations etc.
Developers seem to forget that not all seniors are couples with both drawing Social Security and or government pensions.
I have my Social Security and a pension, but that’s not enough anymore.
My rent is now more than my Social Security 😡
At 70, I had to go back to work! 🙁
I don’t need someone to clean my home or have my meals prepared for me etc
Please consider developing “affordable rental” communities for seniors like myself.
Joan Borsick says
Interested in getting more information and if cost stays in the $200,00 range
Wayne H Chase says
I’m very interested. Been through Yeehaw Junction many times and it’s a wonderful community.
Doc and sue says
Very interested, but sounds like it will be many years before this happens. Am retiring in 2 years, no way this will even be started before then.
I would love to see something in the 200,000 price range. Live in The Villages now for six years. Great place but getting too expensive for most new retirees. Don’t need houses over 1600 sq. ft. when retired. I can’t downsize because nothing in a decent community exists. I would love attached villas or low rise condos. Also this new development has to have adult pools only like the Villages. Family pools for visitors with children. Last but not least it also should have an indoor pool. Can’t believe The Villages doesn’t have one.
Mike YJ McMahon says
I’d be interested in more information.
Bob Teresi says
I’m interested in the development of this project. If they move forward I will be very interested in buying in the near future.
Lesa Hawes says
Very interesting and very interested.
Lesa Hawes says
Very very interested. Sounds exciting
looks very interesting
LAWRENCE D SCHNEIDER says
Yes please keep me apprised.
Don Cari says
Keep me updated I’m currently on the west coast
Greg Voeller says
Very interesting and very interested!
We would be interested. Depends on the costs of houses, fees, a shuttle offered to the airport, and the number of golf courses.
Kenneth Weir says
Yes please keep me apprised. We are looking to move to Fl. In 1.5 years.
Joel Rothstein says
To me location , location, power houses, sewerage plants closeness to each unit. community travel, noise from major roadways, nearness to doctors and hospital, taxes cost or price.
of the the major development. Most developments are smoke and mirrors like the villages.
I would definitely be interested.
Would be willing if cost is under 400,000 and need to see a topographical layout of proposed development. Also who or what LLC corporations are backing it.
How do I get information on this development.
Waiting for updates
Glenda Caldwell says
I will be keeping an eye on this development
I would need more information and a time line. I’m retiring next May, I’d rent somewhere if this develops in a timely manor. But I don’t want to wait for yrs.
Mike Jones says
I have lived in Florida since 1983. The developing has not stop. Mostly good and for the neighboring towns. But another place like the villages is bad news. Developments like this and the villages only suck the town up. They could care less about anything but profits. Sure the place looks nice and inviting but if you don’t live their you are mostly not welcome. Don’t believe me read their Facebook page. For the neighboring towns our taxes go up with nothing to so for it. All because the corruption in town counsel and government. Money talks. And our politicians love money. Our roads and parks are not keep the same as in the villages. Last year our taxes went up the most ever so the new area of the villages could build the power grid and the roads it needed. Florida needs to change this where a rich developer can come in destroy our landscape to build more home like this community. Sure you all might think wow 200,000 for a new home. Wait until the taxes hit you. Because it will. There is no infrastructure there to withstand a population like this. Everything would have to be built, and it will not be on the developers dime. Good luck hope this never happens we are still fighting up in Sumter county. SAVE SUMTER is not just a saying it’s our lives now. Yeehaw if this starts it will never end. Hope you put a stop and save this beautiful land and your peaceful way of life.
Bravo Mike Jones!
gary smith says
will be keeping an eye on this…
S. Cassiday says
I’d be interested depending on the date of completion.
Interesting concept and I like the location.
Will depend on the price points for sure!
Laura C says
Interested. Price would matter
Yes sir!!! Price is important to us
I’d definitely would look into it at a good price! Like the idea of being a pioneer!
Rebecca Bowes says
Yes, please keep me updated!!
I would be interested..
Larry Gale Daly says
Sounds like something I be interested looking into and I like location.
David Giroux says
Would e interested to hear more, pricing is very important to me, association fee s, amenities,etc. Making the move to Florida in the 4-5 yr time frame,so keep me updated.
Would look at it if price is right.
What about a deposit on the property on build to hold spot
Gloria S Gomez says
I would be interested if the price is right.
Janine Hurt says
I would hope Osceola County would require the developers to assist financially with expanding suicide SR 60! Way too many fatality accidents on that 2 lane stretch between Yeehaw and Tampa.
Yeehaw has great access to the turnpike and proximity to I 95 as well.
No way! We moved to FL from NYC, so we’re not the pioneer type. If we move again, it will be out of FL!
Donna Theisen says
I would definitely be interested in a new development, and would welcome a price incentive for those willing to take a chance.
The Villages does have a drawback in no quick trip to the ocean if you want, or a change of scenery coastal town for restaurants and shopping!
Carolyn Peterson says
Very interesting. Interested if they build condos or something similar. Pricing would be a factor. Keep me in the loop.
Lee Rehak says
My husband and I already live 8 miles south of Yeehaw Junction and love living in the middle of nowhere! Peace and quiet and no traffic! We are surrounded by nature. I would invest in this new venture.
be interested in it for 200k depends on start up and my retirement, must have golf carts allowed and places to keep our rv
Diane Tuttle says
I’m interested-please keep me updated
Robert Lematta says
Absolutely I would do it! I drive through that area alot. I would like to keep informed also.
Marcia Vendryes says
Andrea M Daisernia says
I currently live in Central Florida, but if the price was right I would most certainly make a move. I think it would be a very convenient area. Close to the turnpike, I95 and not too far to the beach.
Elizabeth ceresks says
Donald Rohde says
I would be interested to see more information on this as it becomes available
I would like to have more information
David J Levy says
If prices are good count me it.
Robert Brugnoli says
I would take a shot at a new community, as i am in the construction field specifically low voltage/network cabling and systems. So may be a good fit to live and possibly work there.
Cliff Sanderson says
Assuming a $200k target price point, I’d take a chance!!
Michael Peirce says
Sounds like a great idea. I hope it gets going soon!
Manuel Gonzalez says
$200K plus sounds good to us and that’s alot of homes for the community we’ll have to see what happens.
Karen Aguado says
Yes if homes were around $200,000 I would be interested
Craig Temple says
Wellington started this way. Nothing around it. Today have a mall, restaurants you name it. I’d be interested to buy if in $200,000.
Daryl Nichols says
We would definitely be interested in this development.
Jean Bossard says
I would need more info on pricing before I could make a decision
Craig R Zinkoski says
This was in my email and I almost just deleted it because my wife and I were down in Fl two years ago searching and willing to purchase a home in some very nice communities. Within a week the “Bidding” wars started and as retired folks, I said no way! So here we are still researching and hoping one day to move out of our now 55+ Manufactured home community to a single home community where we can leave our home to our kids in a will to either sell or live in it themselves. This sounds like just what we are looking for… The timing would be just what we would be looking for so we can sell our home and save to invest. Plus the area is great since we have family in Boca Raton…Please send me information and keep my email up to date, Thank You…Craig & Fern Zinkoski from NJ
I am interested if houses not to expensive
Barbara Nesbitt says
Charles Giunta says
Sounds exciting !
Charles Giunta says
I would like more info about this proposed community but i would be interested
I would say growth is inevitable there and a much better shot than crypto.
Buy a piece for your kids or grandkids