License to Chill: Jimmy Buffett Debuts Margaritaville Retirement Communities
The new retirement neighborhoods will allow residents to live the Margaritaville lifestyle 24/7 — and they're filling up fast.
After a few cocktails, plenty of people have wanted to permanently relocate to Margaritaville.
Now, that dream is becoming a reality in the form of planned retirement communities for folks never want to take their flip-flops off.
Daytona Beach, FL, and Hilton Head, SC, are two locations where musician Jimmy Buffett and developers Minto Communities are collaborating to build “active adult” retirement neighborhoods, called Latitude Margaritaville, based on the singer’s kick-back-and-relax brand.
Buffett, whose famous songs include “A Pirate Looks At 40” and (of course) “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” already presides over a popular chain of hotels, spas, restaurants and casinos which all celebrate a carefree, “fins up!” attitude.
Parrotheads (as Buffett fans are known) love sipping "License to Chill" margaritas and feasting on Jimmy's Jammin' Jambalaya at his restaurants and flock to his island-themed hotels on vacation — the opportunity to embrace the Margaritaville lifestyle 24/7 in retirement is too good to pass up. In fact, demand was so high for Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona Beach that prospective buyers camped out overnight before the sales center opened on November 13 to snap up housing lots as soon as they hit the market.
The Daytona Beach Margaritaville community is set on 1,600 acres and will feature 400 lots. Floor plans for villas and single-family homes are available to be built on roads with names like Flip Flop Court and Tiki Terrace.
Available floor plans for houses feature two or three bedrooms, two- or three-car garages, walk-in closets, and his-and-hers sinks in the master bathroom. Residences will range from the low-$200,000s to the mid-$300,00s. (Presumably you’ll have to assemble your backyard hammocks yourself.)
The Latitude Margaritaville community has a nearby “town center” that will be adjacent to the residential area. You can expect a Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant and a Five O’Clock Somewhere bar, which are both Buffett brands, according to the AARP. Copious amounts of frozen alcoholic beverages can be expected at both locations.
Other community features include a “Barkaritaville Pet Spa” and dog park; a bandshell for live entertainment (presumably so Buffett can pop in for concerts?); a banquet hall for live performances; tennis, pickle ball and bocce courts; fitness facilities for aerobics and spinning; a pool featuring cabanas and tiki huts; and a free shuttle to a nearby private beach called Ormond Beach.
All told, the community will cost $1 billion to build, with a goal of creating 7,000 residences in 20 years.
If residents need a brief respite from Margaritaville, they can explore greater Daytona Beach, which is home to 19 golf courses, 7 public parks, and the Daytona International Speedway.
While Latitude Margaritaville may sound like a beach bunny fantasy, it only be open to homeowners ages 55 and up, or as the brand literature calls it, “55-and-better.” Prospective buyers aren't limited to Parrotheads, but “people who like to have fun,” Margaritaville CEO John Cohlan told CBS News.
Although senior living communities are common across the U.S., Latitude Margaritaville appears to be the first one that is based solely off a celebrity’s brand, or rather, the lifestyle his brand evokes.
“While Jimmy Buffett may be a draw for some people, I don’t think he will be the draw for going into that community,” Stephen Golant, a gerontologist with the University of Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel. “[People] will come because it offers a unique opportunity to live a retirement lifestyle that allows them more freedom in how they spend their time.”
The Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head, located in Hardeeville, SC, is still being developed and will open a sales center in early 2018. It is expected to have 3,000 homes, a retail center, tennis courts and a fitness center, according to The Island Packet.
As the priorities and habits of retirees continue to shift, it will be interesting to see if communities tailored to a certain lifestyle (or certain musician) become a bigger trend. For now, if you'd like to live in Margaritaville and you're 55 or better, be sure to reserve your spot before they put up a "no vacancy" sign.