On S.R. 56 in Wesley Chapel, a couple of miles east of the Shops at Wiregrass, behind a stunning entrance with an eye-catching waterfall feature, The Ridge at Wiregrass Ranch continues to take shape.
Families who want to enjoy the best possible Florida lifestyle in luxurious, custom homes have been moving into the community since 2016. Of the nearly 350 homes that have been sold in The Ridge so far, 216 have been completed. At build-out, The Ridge is expected to include 564 homes.
The starting prices for homes in The Ridge range between $310,000 to $640,000, with sizes from just under 2,000 sq. ft. to more than 5,000 sq. ft. Most homes back up to ponds or conservation areas, and the few homes that back up to another home feature deeper lots and more green space between them.
The Ridge is being developed, built and sold by Sunrise, FL-based GL Homes, a privately owned company that has been in business for more than 40 years. GL Homes started in Palm Beach and Broward counties and has grown to include communities throughout Florida.
The company is different from many community developers, because it also builds the homes.
“We purchase the land, work with engineers to create a site plan, go through the approval process, develop each home site and build each home,” says Marisa Lufkin, the project manager for The Ridge.
Marisa has been working at The Ridge for more than a year, and has been with GL Homes for 18 years. Previously, she was at Valencia Lakes (the only other GL Homes community in the Tampa Bay area), which is for adults ages 55 and older, located in the Sun City Center area of southern Hillsborough County.
She explains that being both the developer and the builder has its advantages.
“We control the standard of the overall aesthetics,” Marisa says. “We start with the entrance and follow through with the elevations of the homes. We tie it all together, from the guardhouse to the landscaping, to the exterior of the clubhouse to the homes themselves.”
The elevations of the homes in The Ridge all include concrete roof tile, stacked stone exterior details, a covered patio, and brick pavers on driveways, walkways, entries, and covered patios.
“These are standard features in all of our homes,” explains Marisa. She adds that the high-end standard features continue inside, as well, where you won’t need to upgrade to get stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, 42” upper cabinets in the kitchen or luxury bathroom finishes.
That’s one reason Adaliz Aponte and her family chose to build a home in The Ridge when they relocated from Panama City Beach, FL, last August.
“Things that are standard here were an upgrade with our last builder,” she says. “The quality of the home is really impressive. It’s the perfect fit for us, and we’re so happy we’re here.”
Marisa adds, “In this community, you really can have it all.”
Clubhouse & Pools
Speaking of having it all, the community’s 11,691-sq.-ft. clubhouse opened in March of last year. It includes a fitness center with 24-hour resident access, aerobics room, indoor sports court, game room, kids room and even an arcade.
Outdoors, a resort-style pool is accompanied by a lap pool, kids water play area and a water slide. There also are four tennis courts, a shaded tot lot, a full-size, full-court basketball court, open play field and party pavilion.
“There’s nothing else like it in a community this size,” says Marisa. “We’re different for the market, and that’s what attracts buyers to this community.”
“We just love it here,” Adaliz says, “especially all the amenities.”
For example, Adaliz and her family enjoy the pool. “It’s huge,” she says. “First of all, it’s actually three pools because there’s also a lap pool and a water slide. The big pool has a lot of seating, including cabana-style seating, so you can sit back and watch the kids. We can cook out or take food.”
The community also has a lifestyle program, now in full swing, offering plenty of events for residents. A lifestyle director plans events, which have included a health and wellness expo, Christmas party with Santa, cookies, and crafts, and a “Winter Wonderland” event with food trucks, a snow machine, and a “polar bear plunge” down the waterslide.
Adaliz is one of many residents who chose The Ridge in part for its location, which is close to The Shops at Wiregrass, Tampa Premium Outlets, Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. and I-75. “It’s close to everything that’s important to us, like doctors, the supermarket and restaurants,” she says.
Marisa adds that a wide variety of people are coming to live at The Ridge, “from newlyweds to families with children to empty nesters.”
She says many of the buyers are local. “Our community gives people who have outgrown their New Tampa homes an opportunity to build a bigger home in the area,” she says, adding that other local buyers are looking to downsize once they become empty nesters. “Other families just want to live in a brand new home with all the finishing touches and these amazing community amenities.”
In addition, she says, “GL Homes offers the whole package. From the multi-million-dollar entry that makes you feel like you’re coming into a truly upscale community, to our many floor plans and hundreds of options for customization, along with the great lifestyle.”
The sales center at The Ridge at Wiregrass Ranch is open every day, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, visit GLHomes.com or call (855) 671-1700.