Six years after buying a 31-acre subdivision in Alva off North River Road, real estate investor Mike Case finally saw his efforts pay off.
Case, who owns several businesses including Classic Auto Restoration Specialists in North Fort Myers, purchased Serengeti in 2016 at Serengeti Circle. Back then, he paid about $420,000 for the 16 home sites, property records show, an average of $26,250 per lot.
Over the years, Case put thousands of dollars into the property, preparing it for development.
In May, Lennar Homes purchased the 14 remaining home sites for $1.1 million, an average of $78,571 per lot.
“It had been abandoned,” Case said of Serengeti, which is about seven miles east of State Road 31. “It was part of the downturn back during the 2008 recession. It needed a lot of work. There were a lot of issues between the original developer and the property owners. So, it was a major undertaking.”
Lennar Homes soon will break ground on the homes, which will be in the 2,400- to 4,000-square-foot range and cost north of $700,000.
“We’re glad that Lennar came in,” Case said. “I think it’s going to be a great partnership with Serengeti. We like to call this luxury in the country. There just aren’t many property pieces like this in Lee County.”
When Case isn’t tending to real estate deals, he’s usually at the North Fort Myers garage, tending to classic car restorations.
“We restore classic customs or exotic cars,” Case said. “I think we’ve got 30-some projects in process right now. We’ve certainly done hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cars. We see at any time $3 [million] to $4 million worth of cars.”
Case owns four other companies that keep him busy, but restoring cars remains his passion project.
“There’s a lot of similarities,” Case said of his various businesses. “They’re different products, but the business process is still the same. Whether it be real estate, whether it be cars, whether it be staffing, whether it be property management, whether it be construction, the process is still the same. The product is different and the employees are different, but all of the rest of the things are still the same.”
Up next for Case is updating the garage at 17570 N. Tamiami Trail.
“We’re in the process of expanding and redecorating,” Case said. “We took down almost 5,000 pieces of automobile and dealership memorabilia. We’re redecorating now. We’re doing a lot more audio and visual presentations. We’re adding a lot more technology to our designs. We’re adding about 5,000 square feet, so we’re expanding. We’ll have it all done within the next year. As a matter of fact, we started today. We’ll start doing the major remodel over the next six months.”