Premier Properties next month is launching Celebration Cape, a new gated community in Cape Coral, Fla. It’s a rare event in today’s market dominated by foreclosed houses whose prices are hard to beat with new construction.

But Premier owner Roger Schutt thinks he has a winning formula: he bought the land with infrastructure already built for a fire-sale price, and he’s offering something unusual in the city: deed restrictions allowing outsize backyard garages that can accommodate RVs or a large boat, according to The News-Press, Fort Myers.

Prices start at $129,900 for home and lot — less than the $150,000 a lot in the community was being offered for in 2005 when it was known as Pinewood Lakes.

Premier bought the 20-acre site with 58 lots for just under $1 million Tuesday (Dec. 15) from Reliance Bank, which took back the land in foreclosure from the previous developer.

“I saw the opportunity as ‘Here you have a gated community in Cape Coral with all the utilities paid for,'” Schutt said. “The road’s in, the improvements are in, it’s all paid for.”

His hope is that the RV-friendly concept and central location “would fill a niche for new homes” and let him compete with the foreclosure market.

Any new project in Cape Coral needs something unique such as the RV garage to succeed, said Brad Hunter, who directs Metrostudy’s market research operations in Southwest Florida. “Anybody who rolls out a new community these days needs to position it so it has a unique selling proposition.”

Steve Koffman, a real estate broker with Century 21 Sunbelt in Cape Coral, said it’s been rare for developers to start new communities since the boom in home-building ended in late 2005. “I don’t know of anything that’s started since then. Most everything that’s going on was in existence when the market crashed.”

But Premier may be on to something, he said, because the aggressive bidding on high-quality foreclosure houses can be daunting to would-be homebuyers.

“Many buyers have fought over and lost several properties,” he said. “When a property’s available that is desirable and not an REO (foreclosure), they’ll look at it.”

Celebration Cape may find itself popular for some of the same reasons as Sandoval, a much larger gated community in the Cape that has dominated home starts in the city this year, Koffman said.

Sharon Arnold of Gravina, Smith & Matte, which represents Sandoval developer Bonita Bay Group, said Sandoval has accounted for 54 of the 124 single-family home permits issued so far this year in the Cape – eight Sandoval permits were issued last week alone.

Schutt said construction will start next month at Celebration by Aranda Homes, a longtime Cape builder that will be putting up all the community’s houses and helping with sales.