In 1911, Charles and Emmie Adams left Detroit for the sleepy railroad town of Lake Alfred, Florida. There, they grew oranges, steadily building the largest citrus packing house of the time. Fast forward three generations and their grandson—Miami architect Max Strang—saw a unique opportunity for the property: a wellness community.
“It’s definitely a reaction to nearby development,” says Strang, who alongside his three siblings, intends to transform the 500-acre parcel into a high-design agrihood over the next several years. “Groves were dying to citrus blight and being sold to lackluster sprawl. We felt like we had a critical mass to do something special with, otherwise grandma would come back to haunt us.”
Beginning with converting their grandparents’ estate house into an events venue, plans were drawn for five distinct, adjoining districts arranged around boutique organic citrus groves and freshwater lakes. Units will range from modest bungalows to grand homes, with architectural styles from “modern agricultural” to “southern farmhouse.” There will be shopping, restaurants, a hotel, a museum devoted to Florida citrus, a school, miles of parks and trails and of course, community farms. Consistent with Strang’s portfolio, sustainability is paramount: Homes will be net-zero thanks to solar-paneled roofs and geothermal heating, and rainwater will be harvested.
The underlying mission? Build community around a back-to-the-land mindset—something Strang sees a growing market for. “Nowadays we’re divorced from our food and for many, it’s work to physically reach nature,” he says. “This idea of walking out the front door onto a nature path is creating a new kind of suburbia.”