Caribbean-like lagoons give homebuyers the benefits of the beach without the risk

And that was the case even before the development opened. Seven builders, including public companies Lennar, Pulte and D.R. Horton, are putting up more than 1,000 homes around and next to the lagoon. And those homes are selling faster than comparable homes not along the lagoon.

Epperson saw a 21% sales increase at its model homes during the preconstruction period, over a seven-month time frame, compared with 1% to 5% increases at competitor communities, according to Builder Magazine.

“It’s really it’s a differentiator for us,” said Sean Strickler, Pulte Group’s West Florida division president. “We’ve been building homes across Tampa for several years, and the lagoon provides a unique take on a new amenity our residents can enjoy. Now for years we’ve built golf courses and traditional club houses, and to see a beautiful 8-acre lake lagoon has been a tremendous draw.”

Strickler says the homes at Epperson, which start in the $200,000 range, sell at about a 9% to 10% premium to comparable homes in the Tampa area, all because of the lagoon.

“We have just over 400 home sites in the community, and when we opened it was absolutely nuts,” he said.

The lagoon itself is something of a technical feat. It is constantly filtered, and there is a vacuum-like machine that runs around it all day, sucking up any foreign matter. The lagoon is monitored by a control center in Florida. It can see any foreign matter almost immediately, like an alligator. That happened once at the Epperson lagoon, but it was quickly detected and removed.

“It is a patented technology, so I’m only able to go into a little bit of detail, but it works through a disinfection process, pulsed disinfection … with some ultrasonic systems,” Cherasia said. “We use 100 times fewer chemicals than conventional swimming pools and about 2% of the energy, which is really what makes this work.”

There is a huge water slide in the pool, as well as kayaks and an island float. It is surrounded on one side by a sandy beach and the other by a large Tiki bar. A new restaurant scheduled to open soon.

“My wife had seen this area, and as soon as I got to the bridge that overlooked the area and saw that pool, the rest is history,” said Dennis Svoboda, who moved here from Michigan’s upper peninsula to retire. He bought a Pulte home.