HOBE SOUND — Back in the mid-1990s, when Martin County officials were setting the standard for how to manage both new development with the Old Florida environment, Bob Colonnese told a buddy he’d do him a favor.
Sure, why not?
“We were still working,” says Colonnese, who was in the construction business and whose wife, Bonnie, was at the time working as a nurse.
The buddy — actually, his neighbor — was interested in this new development up in Martin County. At the time, Colonnese was living in Palm Beach Gardens.
“He wanted me to go up there and take a look around and tell him what I thought,” Colonnese remembers.
Sure enough, Colonnese went up. But it was he and Bonnie who fell in love with a piece of property and bought. The neighbor?
“Fifteen years later, he still hasn’t pulled the trigger,” Colonnese says.
The Arbors development, 190 homes scattered over 334 acres, is the kind of place that captures the heart, say residents and Realtors. There’s no clubhouse. No central swimming pool. There are no tennis courts or shuffleboard or playground.
What there is, though, is plenty of nature. The houses back up onto either a wetland preserve or Florida woods. Indeed, there are 78 acres of protected wetlands and 106 acres of protected uplands.
And if it’s country living you like, with all the city amenities, then The Arbors is pretty much your nirvana.
“It’s like Wild Kingdom up here,” says resident Tom Tully. “We’ve got all kinds of critters: gopher tortoises, bobcats, owls, raccoons. It’s a really unique development.”
Colonnese says he and his wife love the individuality of each home, built in the mid-1990s. “It’s not cookie-cutter,” he says. There were six or seven different builders in The Arbors, Colonnese said, and that makes for a lot of visual variety.
Residents are also varied, says Realtor Magdalena Martin. “There’s a little bit of everybody in there,” she said. “It’s safe. It’s quiet. It’s just a very friendly community.”
Of course, through the years the original vegetation — at the beginning, wiry and full of nothing but potential — has grown to provide amazing, South Florida shade and canopies. The homeowners’ fees help pay for maintenance of the guard gate, landscaping and roads. That fee is $437 every three months.
Currently there are three homes for sale, ranging in asking price from $341,900 (bank-owned) to $559,000.
The schools for this neighborhood are all A-rated by the state of Florida. They are Hobe Sound Elementary School, Murray Middle School and South Fork High School. Martin, the Realtor, says newlyweds, families and retirees love The Arbors because it’s outdoorsy but close to freeways and shopping.
Colonnese, who moved there after doing his good deed, was so impressed with the original brochures for The Arbors that he’s held onto them all these years. “The Arbors. Where Old Florida charm greets modern Florida lifestyle,” reads the marketing material.
“People drive in here and they’re like, ‘Wow,’” he says. “It’s very, very pretty.”
BY THE NUMBERS
The real estate market at The Arbors.
Total number of homes
Homes listed for sale
$278,000 to $533,000
Price range for homes sold in the past year