Vero village will strive for happy, harmonic lifestyle


A new kind of subdivision is coming to Indian River County, one that combines the best of New Urbanism with ancient architectural principles that go back to Roman and Vedic times.

“Harmony with nature that supports the wellbeing of the people who live there is the essence of what we are doing,” says Richard Bialosky, AIA, who is developing Mandala Village with his partner, David Ederer, a fellow architect and practitioner of Transcendental Meditation.

Stretching for two-thirds of a mile along the north side 53rd Street just west of 58th Avenue, Mandala Village will encompass nearly 200 residences, including condos, town houses, cottages, single-family homes and rental apartments, along with a small shopping center, a 100-room resort and convention hotel, and a 14-acre lake and swimming lagoon bordered by a mile-long walking trail.

“The retail area will include a natural foods market with a café and there will be dining options at the hotel,” Bialosky said. “We want that part of the community to be a convenient, enjoyable, walkable destination for residents.”

The village will also include a community hall, a wellness center and spa and a meditation and yoga pavilion, with the surrounding grounds populated primarily by native Florida plants, which will reduce irrigation water use and eliminate the need for toxic fertilizers.

The sustainable subdivision with net-zero aspirations will be laced with walking paths and embellished with numerous themed “pocket parks,” with a sense of enclosure that will encourage people to gather. Bialosky mentioned a tea garden as one possible theme.

“Surprisingly, ours will be the only convention hotel in the county. It won’t be suitable for huge meetings, but it will be perfect for many smaller meetings and conventions.”

“It is a really interesting project,” said Andy Sobczak, the county’s top planning official. “It has a little miniature downtown with a grocery store and hotel. Those are the types of projects we are always trying to push. When people have what they need in their neighborhood, it cuts down on traffic.”

The 85-acre mixed-use development has been greenlighted by the county Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of County Commissioners and Bialosky hopes to have his land development permit this spring.

“We will have five or six months of infrastructure work and then go vertical, building the homes in two phases,” he told Vero Beach 32963 last week. If his timeline holds, residents will be moving into the village-like subdivision in late 2025.

“The idea is to create the kind of community where people don’t have to get into their cars all the time and drive someplace else for the things they may need,” said Honey Minuse, a former Vero Beach city council and planning and zoning commission member who counts herself as a Mandala Village enthusiast. “Having a village where people can just walk around and enjoy the peaceful surroundings in their own neighborhood, I think, is going to prove very popular.”

“We haven’t formally marketed the project yet, but we already have almost 800 people on our interest list who bother us on a regular basis,” said Bialosky.

The community was approved as a type of Planned Development called a Traditional Neighborhood Design.

Two existing Traditional Neighborhood Design communities in the county are Windsor and Pointe West, which harken back to small town and city life when homes and businesses were in close, walkable proximity and neighborhoods had a distinct identify and style instead of being lost in endless urban/suburban sprawl.

But Mandala Village goes a big step further into the future – and the past – by applying classical psychological and spiritual design principles not just to the community but to all the individual structures.

As an example of the design principles governing the community Bialosky said each home will be oriented to the cardinal points of the compass with the front facing east toward sunrise, a situation that Roman military engineers and Vedic architects going back thousands of years before Rome believed conducive to happiness, well-being and success.

The homes in the village also will have functional rooms in specific locations, such as the kitchen in the southeast corner of a home, which ancient seers determined to be most beneficial, and precise room proportions believed to promote wellbeing.

Feng shui, a popular method of orienting homes and furnishings for life enhancement, derives from the ancient Vedic science of structure, according to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who famously taught John, Paul George and Ringo to meditate and went on to found one of the most popular meditation organizations in the world.

The Maharishi also founded Maharishi Vastu Architecture, reviving for modern times the “traditional Hindu system of architecture based on ancient texts that describe principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement, and spatial geometry.”

It was his encounter with that system that changed the course of Bialosky’s career and brought him to his current project, which he said will be the first, full-scale community in the country designed in accordance with the principles of Vastu Architecture. Bialosky came from a “development family” that included an uncle who taught him to draw floor plans when he was in third grade and parents who gave him books about Frank Lloyd Wright.

“I always knew what I was going to do,” he said. Bialosky got his degree in architecture in 1969 from the University of California, Berkeley, a famous nursery of influential modern architects that currently is ranked as the best public university for architecture in the world.

Launching a successful practice in Santa Barbara, California, he and a partner designed – and later also developed – a wide range of projects.

Then, in 1988, the busy Santa Barbara architect and TM meditator, who had 14 employees and lots of projects in hand, encountered the Maharishi’s modern take on classical Vedic architecture.

“That was what I had been waiting for,” he said. “There was an element of magic there, of being able to structure the environment for optimal evolution instead of as an impediment to the harmony of life,” which standard, dollar-driven development can be.

Leaving his traditional practice in the hands of his partner, he began to design according to higher principles and look for a place to build a Vastu Architecture community.

When his parents moved to Florida, he visited them and saw that the Vero area was a place where he could build the harmonious and evolutionary community he envisioned.

The Great Recession and 2008 housing collapse delayed the project but in 2018, Bialosky and Ederer bought the land on 53rd Street and began designing Mandala Village.

Then came the pandemic, which slowed things down again, but the project is now moving ahead with strong county support.

Information about the project can be found at

Correspondent Garry Boulard contributed to this story.

Comments are closed.