The Lake Nona neighborhood emerged from a vision. Nestled in the southeast district of Orlando, about 20 minutes from downtown, the community has become an economic and healthcare hub in recent years. It’s an illustration of what good urban planning can do.
Lake Nona stands on 7,000-acres of land that was purchased by the Tavistock group in the 1990s. Long-time residents of Orlando might remember that this was nothing but rural farmland back then. Nobody would have thought about going here, much less building a house in this backwater area. But Orlando was getting congested and this location provided an option as it’s still relatively near the city.
State Road 417 now gives easier access to the community.
Green is in
Lake Nona was envisioned to be a sustainable and green neighborhood. To the credit of the planners, they followed through with their vision. It would have been easy to cut corners. Back then, the concept of a green community was still very much in its infancy.
The neighborhood has plenty of green spaces that are strategically placed so that you will generally find a park wherever you are. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you only have to travel five minutes from your location to find a park.
In this neighborhood, you will find Moss Park, one of the largest community reserves in Orlando. There’s plenty of wildlife in this protected space. It’s not uncommon for hikers and trekkers to stumble into deer when they are out exploring the park. You do have to make a reservation if you are planning to camp for the night.
The planners developed four neighborhoods in Lake Nona. You have Laureate Park, Northlake Park, Village Walk, and Water’s Edge.
Lake Nona Medical City
Lake Nona Medical City is a mixed-use development that was meant to be the nerve center for technological and medical research innovation. It combines research, education, and healthcare.
Now, Lake Nona Medical City is home to hospitals, research institutions, academia, life sciences institutions and non-profit companies.
Medical City is very close to Orlando International Airport. It is also home to the University of Central Florida’s Health Sciences Campus, which also includes the College of Nursing, Dental Medicine, and the College of Medicine. You will also find here the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, Valencia College at Lake Nona, University of Florida Academic Research Center, and the Orlando Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Medical City was a result of the donation of 50 acres of land by the Tavistock Group to the University of Central Florida. Apart from the land, the developer also donated $50 million to get the vision off the ground.
Today, Medical City boasts of 5 million square feet of retail and commercial space. There are also residential enclaves there. The University of Central Florida’s campus alone can accommodate about 5,000 students and faculty members.
Lake Nona Real Estate
Lake Nona has become one of Orlando’s most sought after neighborhoods. Residents here have access to education, amenities, healthcare, green spaces, and connectivity.
There are two golfing communities here, the Northshore at Lake Hart Golf and Eagle Creek Golf Club.
There is plenty of shopping in Lake Nona. You can find Wal-Mart and Lowe’s at Lake Nona Landings; Publix and Subway at Lake Nona Plaza; Graffiti Junktion and Chicken Salad Chic at Nona Park; and a 7-Eleven at Lake Nona Creekside.
But the development is not done yet. Not by a long shot. Soon, Lake Nona will host a ropes course, beach volleyball courts, a brewery, a container park, an inflatable water park, a man-made crystal lagoon, hotels, and a movie theater.
Businesses continue to come in and establish headquarters in the community. The United States Tennis Association already built a tennis facility here and a training facility worth $430 million with the help of KPMG, one of the biggest accounting firms in the world.