The booming Brevard real estate market is in full swing on Lansing Island, the beach’s most exclusive gated community. With half a dozen estate homes under construction and fewer than a dozen lots remaining, the private island enclave that was home to the county’s largest home for many years is approaching buildout.
“This has been a good year for property price appreciation on Lansing Island,” says Vinu Patel, a high-tech entrepreneur who has lived in the community since the 1990s. “The house next to mine sold nine days after it went on the market.”
Houses on the island have docks, pools and three-car garages and range in size up to more than 16,000 square feet. There are a variety of architectural styles, with designs overseen by an architectural review committee. Property values run from around $1 million to more than $4 million.
“The quality of houses you see here is more like what you would typically see in South Florida, someplace like Boca Raton,” says Treasure Coast Sotheby’s broker associate Gibbs Baum, who has specialized in beachside properties for more than a dozen years and is one of the top realtors in Brevard County.
There are 10 Lansing Island houses on the market, with the lowest-price home offered for $1,450,000 the highest-price estate listed for $2,990,000. Four lots on the MLS are priced from $579,000 to $855,000. Lots are large, from three-quarters of an acre to more than an acre.
Amenities in the 156-homesite subdivision include a clubhouse with pool, fitness center, basketball court, four tennis courts and a ballroom large enough to accommodate 200 guests at a wedding or party.
But the amenity Patel and many other residents most value is the privacy and security of the private island, which lays between the Grand Canal and the Banana River. “That is what my wife and I appreciate the most,” says Patel, who is a past president of the homeowners association.
There is only way on and off the island, through a 24-hour guarded gatehouse and then over a bridge at the western end of Desoto Avenue, a cross-town parkway that provides quick access to Atlantic Ocean beaches a mile or so to the east.
“It is second to none when it comes to security,” says Baum. “You can get through most guarded community gates with just a realtor business card but not on Lansing. There, you must have an appointment where a property owner called and registered the date and time before you can get in.”
The community was developed by David T. McWilliams in five phases, beginning in the early 1990s, and he designed it with privacy and security in mind, along with the goal of maximizing an extraordinary location, set apart between the river and the ocean, but close to everything on the Space Coast.
“In early 1985, the dream of Lansing Island was first imagined as I flew over this island so near to civilization and yet so far,” McWilliams wrote at the time he launched the community. “My dream was of spacious home sites in a natural setting . . . preserving the habitat of Florida’s wildlife to be enjoyed by homeowners and their families. A grand entrance across a private bridge to a single boulevard accessing the riverfront and Grand Canal would ensure complete privacy and security.”
McWilliams named the subdivision after William Lansing Gleason who was mayor of Eau Gallie for a total of 15 years in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, and who in 1955 co-founded the city of Satellite Beach, where Lansing Island is located.
Gleason’s grandfather bought the 170-acre island in the 1870s and the family owned it before McWilliams acquired the land for development, built it up and installed infrastructure, including the private bridge, lakes, and wide parklike avenues.
“When I moved here and was looking for a home, my boss at the time told me, ‘you have to live on Lansing Island!’” says Patel, who later founded Anuva Manufacturing, which operates in a recently expanded 40,000-square-foot factory in Melbourne. “My house is just 15 minutes from my factory, so it is very convenient,” he says.
As the community nears buildout, the demographics are changing, with younger families moving in. That is a trend many Florida communities like to claim, but here there is concrete evidence of the shift in the form of a playground on the clubhouse grounds that was recently completed to give the fortunate children of Lansing Island’s residents – Patel says doctors, lawyers and businessmen predominate – a place to play.
“It is one of, if not the, best neighborhoods on the barrier island,” says Baum.