ABOUT NORTH PORT
The City of North Port was founded in 1959 as the northern, or Sarasota County part, of GDC’s (General Development Corporation) Port Charlotte development. From 1959 until 1974, the City was known as North Port Charlotte. Eager to establish their own identity, the people who lived here voted to remove “Charlotte” from the name, and North Port was re-born. Interestingly, there is no port in North Port. North Port remained a sleepy bedroom community and as of the 1999 census, only about 18,000 people lived here. There were few traffic lights, and only one grocery store.
And then the building boom came. Prices escalated out of reach in Sarasota for many, especially young families. For the same price as a small, older home in Sarasota, people could buy a larger, brand new home in North Port, and thanks to the convenience of I-75 access, remain within commuting distance to Sarasota, and even more importantly, stay within the coveted, and highly rated Sarasota County school district. Thousands of people flocked here, new schools were built, and new stores followed.
By 2006, the population more than doubled, and the City limits expanded with the annexation of Warm Mineral Springs, growing to more than 103 square miles, making North Port the 4th largest City in Florida by land mass, and one of the fastest growing cities by population in the entire country.
And then, the building crash came. The foreclosure crisis of 2008 and the subsequent years hit all of America. Florida was deeply affected, and North Port became one of the epicenters of this crisis. North Port was hit harder than older cities like Sarasota, Venice, and Punta Gorda, because we lacked long established neighborhoods… more than two-thirds of the homes here were built in the 2004-2006 era.
As the crisis eased starting in 2012, and in the years since, North Port has outpaced the surrounding cities and towns in the recovery. The same factors that led to North Port’s emergence in the early 2000’s stand true today. North Port remains highly affordable compared to our neighbors.
We are still convenient to Sarasota and are part of the Sarasota County A-rated school district. As of 2017, prices have recovered to pre-crisis levels and new construction can be seen all over the city. Once dormant communities are alive and growing. The West Villages section of North Port is the 4th fastest growing master planned community in the US. In September, median sales prices for single family homes eclipsed $200,000 ($202,500) for the first time since 2005. A new water park has been built for residents in the eastern part of the city, the new Suncoast Technical College and adjacent Sarasota County Library have opened, plans have been approved for a new city pool, and new stores and restaurants are being added on a continuing basis.
Our population is now over 67,000 residents, making North Port the most populous city on the west coast of Florida between Tampa and Naples. What was once the Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice metropolitan area has been renamed the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota area.
We are a young city, not just in years of existence, but also in average age. Compared to our most direct neighbors, where both the Venice and Port Charlotte average age is over 67, the average age of North Port residents is only 38, with more than 12,000 school age children.
The city is booming, and yet, with only around 20% of it being built out, there is enormous room for growth. In June, 2017, the City of North Port and the Atlanta Braves announced that spring training baseball is coming to North Port, beginning in February, 2019. The sports complex will be complemented by a new town center and Main Street in the West Villages district. This complex is projected to bring an economic boon to the City, and we expect it will also bring a Real Estate boon as even more people are introduced to North Port and the North Port Estates area. We have been discovered, and indeed have a very bright future.
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