When our Publisher Stephanie Lerret told me to write a column about why “I Love Avalon Park,” I was excited, no more Corona, economic crises, and more, a subject for a column which I am truly passionate about.
Well, it was not love at first sight…it was a long journey, an incredible journey, and it continues, and will today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. The journey of AVALON PARK. And while this story starts with our Avalon Park Orlando project, we are excited that we have now added 3 additional Avalon Park communities that are part of the Avalon Park family.
In 1988, the Altman Family based in Orlando and New York was looking for a buyer for its 9,200-acre ranch in east Orlando. A third of a century ago very few people were interested in buying a huge tract of land in the middle of nowhere in east Orlando, except an obscure Swiss-American group who bought the land after more than 1 year of negotiations.
I was designated by this group to go and check out this land that we purchased. When I arrived to what is now the town Avalon Park, I was shocked. I first came to see the land, which over the last couple of decades became the town of Avalon Park, I was shocked. At that time Waterford Lakes, then called Huckleberry was failing for a second time and what is today Stoneybrook was about 1,100 acres of land called Les Spring and owned by an Arab “Sheik.” The Altman Ranch was at the end of civilization, and my first thought was, not in 100 years will there be anything built out there. Knowing that Florida had the reputation of selling land to someone abroad when they could not find a local buyer, I thought we were swindled into buying some land with no value.
Well of course I could now write an entire book, and at some point, I will do that. That book will outline how a 9,200-acre tract of land became the town of Avalon Park and the Hal Scott Preserve. It will also tell the story of how Avalon Park derived its name literally meaning “the isle of fruit” from the Arthurian legend and how it is described as the place where King Arthur’s sword Excalibur was forged and later where the King was taken from being gravely wounded in battle. This book could easily be well over 1,000 pages, so we will save that for another day.
While the full story would be a long adventure, it can be summed up like this: For about 20 years, a passionate team and I have had the honor to build a town from scratch. We all live, learn, work, and play here, and we all love to continue to shape our dream every day.
When I first moved full-time to Florida, a quarter-century ago, my wife Jill and I lived in a townhome in the suburbs of Fort Lauderdale. I got homesick, not because there were not any mountains like in Switzerland or because it was hot and humid. These are things you prepare yourself before moving to Florida.
I missed being in a town, where I was able to live, learn, work and play. A town where people of various racial, economic and cultural backgrounds could live together. In my native hometown Zurich, I can walk from my home to anything I need in my daily life, to work, to school, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. That home-town culture was the “blueprint” for Avalon Park, only my vision was to make it better.
It is not uncommon for me to be away on business for several days a month abroad, in Europe, Australia or Asia. When I come back and arrive in Avalon Park, seeing the “Welcome Home” sign brings a sense of relief, pride, and love.
In 1999, Avalon Park Group moved to Founder’s Hall, the first building completed in Avalon Park, and if you would have told me that more than 20 years after, I would still spend most of my daily life in Avalon Park, I would be skeptical. But you see, I love Avalon Park, and do not want to ever leave.
I love that I can Zoom the world right from my office in the heart of Avalon Park, then step out and go for a workout, have a bite to eat, see children biking or walking home from school, all within a square mile.
I love to be able to talk to somebody about the weather, sport, and life, in general, anytime in Avalon Park. I love the events, like past Saturday where the community came out to support the local businesses and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather.
I love that you can live in Avalon Park at all stages of life, from a college student in an apartment to finding a job and purchasing your first home. Then growing a family and moving up to buy a larger home. Then after the kids have gone maybe a move back down into a townhome or apartment. And all these options are within walking distance from the grocery store, restaurants, YMCA, parks, and events, including world-class fireworks.
I love the peace of mind knowing that you can live your whole life, should you wish, in one place. With an assisted living and memory care community and soon an independent living and 55+ option, you can literally move into your senior years in the very community you are familiar with, surrounded by family and supportive caregivers.
I love the schools, the teachers (most are also residents of Avalon Park), made them the best in Central Florida, because they, like me, love Avalon Park.
While Avalon Park Orlando is 99% complete, we are just starting our journey in Wesley Chapel, Daytona Beach and Tavares. I love that every single day we all can build on the Avalon Park we call home. Together we can make it better, reinvent the town of Avalon Park, reinvent us with the opportunities in OUR town. I am excited about these next chapters in the Avalon Park journey.
I love Avalon Park.
I would love to hear why you love Avalon Park! Send me your favorite Avalon stories to Info@ AvalonParkSun.com.