A recently-announced nature refuge park in northwest Florida has sparked investor interest. Environmentalist Jim Fowler plans to build a large scale attraction south of Interstate 10 in Bonifay.
Property prices along the Interstate and Highway 79 have dramatically risen in just three years.
By early next year, Doctor's Memorial Hospital administrator Robert Winkler expects to break ground on a new facility. It'll be located on a 10 acre parcel along the I-10 and Highway 79 interchanges.
In 2003, the land was bought for a little more than $200,000. Today, it's been re-appraised at more than a million.
“Vary accessible from I-10 east and west, and north and south on Highway 79. We couldn't have found a more accessible spot,” said Winkler.
With the announcement of the Fowler Wildlife Refuge attraction and the movement of retirees to northwest Florida, even with higher interest rates, realtors say land along the interchange is soaring in value.
“We've even had people buy out our buyers and buy their contracts. It's really serious,” said Glenda McGowan of Unique Reality.
One Bonifay gun shop owner whose business is along Highway 79 says real estate has been unbelievable over the last four years.
“There’s talk of water parks and animal parks. This little county is really starting to grow,” said Bob Cullifer of Bonifay Gun & Pawn.
One realtor believes much of the movement of property along the interstate is being done by land speculators looking to re-sell at a later time.
With the announcement of the wildlife refuge attraction, land speculators as far away as Asia and Africa have expressed interest in buying large tracts of land in that area.