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Valencia Lakes is our community of the year for 2017.

55places.com is pleased to announce that Valencia Lakes by GL Homes is our 2017 active adult community of the year. Located in Wimauma, Florida, this 55+ community offers its residents an ideal combination of resort-style amenities, beautiful new homes designed with the needs of today’s active adults in mind, and easy access to nearby Sun City Center and the rest of the Tampa Bay region.

The Quality of Valencia Lakes

The active adult community of the year is awarded to a development that makes substantial improvements to the quality of life of its residents, whether it be through opening clubhouses, offering new home models, or substantively expanding their clubs and activities.

In addition to making improvements to the community itself, Valencia Lakes was on the forefront of homebuyer's minds this year. This sought-after community appeared on our other awards posts this year, making an appearance on our lists of the 100 most popular communities, the 50 best-selling communities of the year, and the 55 best 55+ communities for 2017.

A multitude of other factors were taken into consideration in determining the 55+ community of the year. The real estate mantra of “location, location, location” obviously plays a major role and, in this case, the Tampa Bay Area doesn’t disappoint.

A perennial entry on lists of the top retirement locations, Tampa entices homebuyers of all stripes with its warm climate, abundant Florida sunshine, diverse transportation options, and central location within the state. Homebuyers also appreciate the value the Tampa Bay Area offers, allowing them to stretch their dollar further to get the biggest bang for their buck.

One important element of the Valencia Lakes experience that drew our interest was GL Homes' desire to continually improve and innovate. This sort of ongoing self-improvement is something we value in the communities we write about here at 55places.com.

Amenities at Valencia Lakes

Refusing to rest on their laurels, extensive renovations and improvements were made to the community’s already impressive 40,000 square-foot clubhouse and amenity center.

While the look of the clubhouse was thoroughly updated with a sophisticated, modern elegance, the work went far beyond a fresh coat of paint and some new furniture. In addition to the beautifully designed interiors, an expansive new fitness center was opened, equipped with state-of-the-art cardio- and strength-training machines along with a sauna and steam rooms for after-workout relaxation.

In addition to a variety of indoor social spaces, residents also enjoy multiple outdoor facilities on the eight-acre site such as a resort-style pool with lap lanes, resistance pool, spa, cabana bath, six Har Tru tennis courts, pickleball and bocce ball courts, horseshoes, half basketball court, and softball field. Homeowners with a green thumb love the community garden while RV enthusiasts appreciate the available RV and boat parking lot. Residents' four-legged friends also get a taste of the good life with their very own dog park.

In addition to the exciting improvements to the clubhouse and amenities, a full-time activities director was brought on to help homeowners make the most of not only the community’s amenities, but also help them engage with the 100+ interest groups and social clubs that make this such a diverse and welcoming community. From wine tastings to line dancing, book club to singles club, there’s something for everyone here and the smart addition of an activities director ensures residents will have a resource to connect them with like-minded neighbors, reinforcing Valencia Lakes’ commitment to putting the ‘active’ in active adult.

Construction and Home Models

Award-winning home builder GL Homes began construction on Valencia Lakes back in 2005, recognizing the desire for not only easy access to Sun City Center but also a need for newer homes with more modern features and design elements. Construction continues to this day on the planned 1,540 homes, all built with the quality and attention to detail that has made GL Homes a respected leader in the industry.

There is such a diversity of home models - 33 in all - that just about any homebuyer can find something that suits their tastes and needs. There are right-sized attached homes in the Regal Twin Villas collection, perfect for travelers or those who prefer a cozy feel.

On the other end, the Royal Collection features spacious homes, some more than 3,000 square feet, that feature three-car garages and covered in-ground pools. A wide range of home styles and sizes are available, which makes this an accessible community to most homebuyers and that’s something we certainly note when preparing to award our community of the year. In addition, a wide variety of elevations are available, providing plenty of opportunities to choose interior finishes, appliances, and landscaping.

Valencia Lakes is a low-maintenance community, a huge plus for residents, with the homeowners’ association providing exterior maintenance, lawn care and irrigation, and community maintenance, all for a reasonable monthly fee.

Local Attractions

Homeowners at Valencia Lakes enjoy what could be described as a “best of both worlds” location, which is to say it's close enough to the Tampa and St. Petersburg metro areas to make enjoying their cultural attractions, great restaurants, and so much more a breeze, while being just far enough away to be removed from the daily hustle and bustle of big city life. Just outside the community in Sun City Center are many retail and dining options, making daily errands quick and easy. Most everyday shopping conveniences are within five minutes of Valencia Lakes and a new Walmart is just a mile down the road.

Golfers love being just across the street from Caloosa Golf and Country Club. Also nearby is Scepter Golf Club, Sandpiper Golf Club, and Summerfield Crossings Golf Club.

Outdoor lovers enjoy being near several lakes, beaches, and green space like Little Manatee River. Those who have their sea legs and enjoy the relaxation of a cruise will be pleased to know that Port of Tampa is less than 25 miles away. It is one of the busiest points of departure for cruises, which means plenty of options, variety, and opportunities for ocean adventures.

Residents looking to get away for a vacation can fly out of Tampa International Airport, which is frequently lauded as being among the best airports in the country for both business and leisure travelers.

Combining top-notch new homes, a highly sought-after location, and always innovative and expanding amenities, it is easy to see why Valencia Lakes has earned the distinction of being our 2017 community of the year. Want to learn more about Valencia Lakes? Contact our community expert today.