Latitude Margaritaville Watersound helps builder gain national ranking

Nathan Cobb

Panama City News Herald USA TODAY NETWORK

PANAMA CITY BEACH − Thanks to a Latitude Margaritaville Watersound, a developer was ranked as being among the best builders in the U.S.

According to a press release from Minto Communities USA, the group was ranked 18th in Home Builder Executive Magazine’s top 100 private home builders in the U.S. based on 2022 home closings. It also secured the No. 5 spot for the greatest gain in closings in the magazine’s Top 10 private home builders in the U.S.

“Definitely bringing in (Latitude Margaritaville) Watersound and getting 363 closings there last year, I would say was the exclamation point that helped us not only gain year over year and be ranked 5th, but also (secure) overall 18th in the U.S.,” said William Bullock, president of the Minot division of Latitude Margaritaville. “I would attribute that a lot to Watersound.”

Geared toward residents at least 55 years old, Latitude Margaritaville Watersound is being developed in Bay County through a partnership between Minto, the St. Joe Company and Margaritaville Holdings. The Jimmy Buffett-themed community sits off State 79, north of Panama City Beach.

Bullock noted Minto also has developed two traditional communities −the Isles of Collier Preserve in Napes and the Westlake Community in Westlake − along with two other Latitude Margaritaville Watersound communities in Daytona Beach and Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Construction on the local Latitude broke ground in 2020, and its homes hit the market in May 2021. Bullock said it registered 605 sales in 2022, which is the most annual sales for any Latitude location. There now are more than 400 homes under construction, and the community passed 1,000 home sales earlier this year.

It is slated to open its lifestyle center in June. The facility will include tennis and pickleball courts, a two-story restaurant, fitness center, resort pool and indoor pool.

“That’s one of the big reasons people want to live in a Latitude,” Bullock said. “That lifestyle center creates so much friendship and energy amongst the residents. When that opens in June, it will be a huge shot in the arm for that community, and it will kind of fully encapsulate what the whole Latitude concept is about.”

Bullock said he believes Latitude Margaritaville Watersound is special not only because it sits along the Panhandle, but because of its potential for future expansions. Its first phase of development boasts plans for 3,5000 homes, and officials have said there is room in the surrounding area to build additional properties.

The community offers four styles of homes that range from about 1,200 square feet to more than 2,500 square feet. The least expensive models cost more than $300,000.

“I think it’s just the sheer potential of what that community has to offer,” Bullock said of what he believes sets Latitude apart. “When you start looking at proximity to the beach and enough land for thousands and thousands and thousands of houses … we’re really creating a destination in a small town.”

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