A History of Sun City Center

by John Bowker

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Chapter 2

After Del Webb

Two successful Florida developers, Jim Walter and Gerald Gould, had combined to form the W-G Development Corporation. With loans from the First National Bank of Chicago (FNBC) the new developer bought out Del Webb's Sun City Center interests.

In order to raise capital for further development here, W-G sold a portion of its new holdings to the Kings Point Housing Corporation of Delray Beach, Florida. Again, it was FNBC that provided the necessary funds to the Kings Point organization for its new venture. The new condominium development would become known as "Kings Point West" for a time, then "Sun City Center West" and, at this writing, "Kings Point". Development was rapid in both communities; the hotel was rebuilt and life in Sun City Center was being restored after the jolt of Del Webb's departure.

Unfortunately for W-G and for the Kings Point interests, several economic factors were converging to make their businesses fail. There was a gasoline shortage that grounded the snowbirds and caused a resulting depression in real estate sales all over Florida. FNBC finally called in its mortgages and, after a sequence of developer management changes, established Stanley Whitcomb as the head of development for both Sun City Center and Kings Point. Once again a feeling of great optimism and confidence spread through the community. The library and Civic Association buildings at the corner of North Pebble Beach Boulevard and Cherry Hills Drive were put in place in 1980, and by 1982 both the new post office building and the South Bay Hospital were opened.

However, at the time FNBC took over development, the FDIC had ruled that the bank must divest itself of the real estate it owned here within five years. Thus, by the late 1970s the property was again sold, this time to a development firm that would evolve into the Sunmark Corporation. In order to maintain our unique status as a retirement community, the CA met with the developer to establish the "1984 Agreement". Geographic bounds to the "Sun City Center" retirement community were among the details established in the agreement.

In 1988, Al Hoffman bought out the Sunmark interests and began operations as the Sun City Center Corporation (later re-named Florida Design Communities, Inc.) covering both Kings Point and the undeveloped portions of Sun City Center.

Hoffman has involved himself in community information sessions, published a regular newsletter and, to emphasize the beauty and ambiance of this retirement community, was instrumental in obtaining state funds for the 1990 beautification of the State Road 674 median.

Hoffman also opened the "Courtyards", a retirement community of apartments with its own activities center and with assisted living facilities under construction as this is being written.

During 1998 a portion of the northern section of Sun City Center was being developed as Aston Gardens, a community fashioned in many ways after the Courtyards. The developer's building plans for Sun City Center and Kings Point are forecast well into the second decade of the 21st Century.

When Del Webb first visited this property, he had in mind a development of 5,000 retirees conveniently surrounding their own all-purpose recreation, shopping, service center and bordered by a much larger development of homes, schools and industrial sites. Only the central portion (where we now live) would have remained an age-restricted retirement community. That early vision has long since been blurred, but first-time visitors continue to get the immediate impression of our neat layout and attractive amenities. Many of us have watched its continuous change. The vigilance of the Community Association members and the dedicated efforts of their elected leaders are the keys to maintaining the safe, comfortable and active retirement lifestyle we all visualized on our first visit to Sun City Center.

This narration was prepared by John Bowker in part from the records of the Sun City Center Historical Society. Special thanks to Boyd Neuborne, Phil Lange and Janet Wilson. Readers interest and contributions to the collection of documents is solicited.


Back to Chapter 1 - Del Webb and the cow pasture

This narration was prepared by John Bowker in part from the records of the Sun City Center Historical Society. Special thanks to Boyd Neuborne, Phil Lange and Janet Wilson. Readers interest and contributions to the collection of documents is solicited.

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