By Andrea Stetson
Special to Fort Myers News-Press
Published May 1, 2021
Verdana Village will be like no other community in Southwest Florida. It will be the first to have indoor pickleball and tennis. Both highly popular sports are usually relegated to outdoor venues. That means playing in the scorching sun or forfeiting games when the thunderstorms roll in. Not at Verdana Village where four indoor pickleball courts and two tennis courts will add to the 12 outside pickleball and six outside tennis courts.
“I think people are going to love it,” said Nick Cameratta, CEO of Cameratta Companies. “Pickleball is huge now and tennis has always been. It’s exploding. People can’t play most of the days especially in the summer months. Seven months a year it is hot, there are bugs and rain, so we said ‘let’s build something no one else has’. I think that will be a major, major thing here. I think the indoor operations will be one of a kind.”
But that’s just the beginning of the new things Cameratta Communities is bringing to the community that will be located off the eastern portion of Corkscrew Road in Estero. When Cameratta pieced together three properties of farmland to create the 2,138 acre parcel, he wanted it to be more than another community of homes. He wanted to create an entire village. So 17 acres are being set aside for 100,000 square feet of commercial space. That will include a grocery store, restaurants, a dry cleaner, shops, and offices.
“Our team believes this is much needed in the Estero area especially east on Corkscrew Road,” said Craig Kopko, managing director of development for WMG Development that is overseeing the commercial parcels. “The existing homes alone need something like this, let alone Verdana and future developments after that. We see this as a need now and in the future.”
“It’s a project unlike any other community in the area,” Cameratta added. “It’s unique because of the amenities and the commercial.”
Cameratta is also donating land for a fire station and paying for an ambulance.
“We think that’s going to be important,” Cameratta said. “We are putting 4,000 homes in this area so we think it’s important to have that infrastructure in the area.”
Verdana will have 2,400 front doors when complete. The shops and fire station, however, will also service his Cameratta community across the street called The Place that will soon be built out with 1,325 homes. Cameratta Companies also built the nearby Preserve at Corkscrew with 441 homes and Corkscrew Shores with 647 houses.
Sharon Deagan lives at The Place now and loves it, but is planning to move to Verdana Village when it opens.
“Whatever Cameratta does is amazing,” she began. “Whatever we have at our place will be even better over there.”
Deagan is a pickleball player and it excited to have the indoor venue.
“I work, so I can only play at night, but half the time it decided to rain later on so you could never get games in,” she described. “This is just going to be amazing and the amenities will just be off the chart for whatever you like to do.”
Verdana Village will feature nine models; five by Pulte and four by Lennar.
Pulte’s models will range in price from the low $300,000s to over $700,000. Josh Graeve, Pulte’s vice president of sales, says Verdana Village is a great place for his company to build.
“What makes Verdana Village so unique and so special is the scope and size of the amenity package,” Graeve said. “That’s paired with the incredible location on Corkscrew Road, and the never seen before indoor sports campus.”
Lennar does not have prices for its planned homes yet, but they too are eager to be part of the new project.
“We are excited for everything that Verdana Village will offer our residents,” stated Darin McMurray, division president of Lennar SWFL. “It will be one of the most exciting lifestyles that we’ve ever seen.”
Cameratta said the variety of homes and amenities is aimed to attract buyers of all ages.
“This community will be a multigenerational community providing something for everyone to enjoy,” Cameratta explained.
There will be indoor basketball and volleyball. The resort pool will feature an island in the middle with king size day beds. Cabanas on the sides of the pool will offer other places for relaxing. The spa will be so huge it will be the size of a swimming pool.
“We want to make this into one of the best sports court operations in Florida,” Cameratta said. “It will be a city within and city. You will have everything you need here. This one is truly bigger and better.”
The Craft Lounge will have 30 beers on tap along with wine, specialty drinks and other beverages. There will be a café, restaurants and an ice cream shop.
“It is going to be so great,” Kopko said. “That is why we are excited to be part of the development because they are forward thinking.”
Construction is now underway. Cameratta expects the first people to move in September 2021. The sports complex is slated to open in the fall of 2022.