Traditionally, Palm Beach has had the most expensive homes in Florida, but in 2001, the Port Royal neighborhood of Naples accounted for four of the top nine sales in the state.
There are more than 500 homes in Port Royal, which was carved out of mangroves in the late 1940s. "It's just an incredible area," said a family-owned realty group that sold the first million-dollar home in the neighborhood. "Today, you could not go in and tear out mangroves and dig up canals". What makes it attractive are the large home sites nearly all with waterfront access.
The subtleties of wealth abound in this neighborhood that juts out at the end of Naples. Gordon Drive is the main street. There's about eight miles of meticulous boulevards and navigable channels. The west shore borders the white powdery beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and to the east is the deep, blue water of Naples Bay.
Home to the very wealthy, the neighborhood allows residents to enjoy their privacy behind thick vegetation that hides the stately houses. Better views come from the water.
In its midst is the Port Royal Club, an exclusive members-only facility with tennis, pool and dining facilities, situated on the Gulf. It's been around for more than 60 years. There's a policy that nothing be publicized about what's going on behind its walls. The property owners association wouldn't comment either.
Eight of the top 10 Collier sales for 2001 were in Port Royal. Before the $30 million sale, Naples' highest was $18.2 million for another Gordon Drive home, sold in 2000. Port Royal's first million-dollar home sold 25 years ago. That home is now worth many million $ more.
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