Vestiges of housing bust dot Treasure Coast

At least two dozen residential developments in the region are unfinished eyesores

Jul.July 23, 2016 09:00 AM

The guardhouse at the stalled Bristol Bay development in Indian River County (Credit: Xavier Macarenas | Treasure Coast Newspapers)

Florida’s Treasure Coast region is blighted by at least two dozen unfinished residential developments approved before the real estate market collapse in the late 2000s.

For example, vegetative overgrowth and a network of cracked streets and paths to nowhere is all the Michael Creek development in Indian River County has become. It was supposed to be 60 luxury houses on 24 acres hugging the Indian River Lagoon. But construction of the development, which started in early 2007, had stopped by late 2009 and never resumed.

At least 10 other Indian County developments failed in similar fashion following construction of a few homes, or none, and unfinished common areas.

At least five such unfinished communities are in St. Lucie County, including four covering 600 acres in Port St. Lucie alone.

Brad Hunter, chief economist for HomeAdvisor, said the housing market collapse in the late 2000s hammered few U.S.  markets harder than St. Lucie County: “St. Lucie was a bubble — a big one — and when it popped, it was devastating.”

But Hunter also said efforts are under way to finish some of the unfinished residential developments, describing them as “zombie” projects with revival potential.

For example, KB Home is adding 122 homes to a 40-acre Port St. Lucie development called Pine Trace. Initially approved in 2005, Pine Trace has four finished homes.

Other stalled residential developments approved in the mid-2000s that appear likely revive to include Indian River County’s 79-acre Bent Pine Preserve and 36-acre Orchard Park. [Treasure Coast Newspapers] Mike Seemuth

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