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Making Lemonade…

Terry Mock, SLDI Co-founder

By Terry Mock
Follow Terry on Twitter: @SustainLandDev

April 2009

When plans for an ambitious “new urbanist” housing development became mired in permitting and the economic meltdown, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice announced a different strategy to develop instead “the largest urban solar-energy project in the country” on 300 acres it owns in the city of Venice, Florida.

The market for new homes is way down, while affordable options abound. The foundation recognized that renewable energy is currently the pressing issue. In response, it intends to partner with a major power company to produce at least 40 megawatts of electricity, which would provide power for about 11,200 people.  Estimated environmental benefits of a 40 megawatt solar-energy installation include preventing the release of more than 900,000 tons of greenhouse gases over the life of the facility, or the equivalent of taking more than 7,000 cars off the road each year.

Meanwhile, the overall Real Estate market continues to languish. On Florida’s east coast, even normally recession-resistant, oceanfront properties are weak. Superstar luxury builder/developer Frank McKinney has created and sold 36 oceanfront properties with an average selling price of over $12 million since 1992. McKinney has just completed the world’s largest and most opulent triple-certified “green” mansion priced at $29 million. But even he admits that he is facing significant challenges that result in meeting his “old friend ‘fear’ head-on nearly every day,” and he is not immune from the cycle we are experiencing. When asked how he is going to get out of the current situation, he replied – “We are going to give our way out”.

To demonstrate his point, he has just released three new books simultaneously, each representing a distinctly different genre (real estate, spiritual/inspirational and young reader/fantasy fiction), with profits going to the Caring House Project Foundation which builds self-sustaining villages in Haiti.

Speaking of the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, SLDI has donated publishing services for an inspirational book of poems and photographs entitled Behind the Mountains for the St. Joseph Family organization made up of homes, a school and art programs for the most disadvantaged children in Haiti.

Your participation and comments are welcome.


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