Port LaBelle, a 31,000-acre single-family planned housing community with about 13,000 residential lots, three miles east of the city of LaBelle, brings a modern, country club atmosphere to the city of LaBelle. It was originally developed by General Development Corp. in the 1970s and includes neighborhood parks, a marina, and a growing residential community.
In 1972 the land for the Port LaBelle community was purchased by the Miami developer from the heirs of Joe B. Hendry, Sr., the “Cattle King” of south Florida, who bought most of the county’s land from LaBelle to Clewiston from Henry Ford in 1942. The majority of Port LaBelle’s vast, and until recently remote lands, are still unfenced and are mostly vacant one-quarter acre lots, some lots backing up to recreational greenbelt areas.
Four community subdivisions have been developed over the last thirty years including Country Village, Eucalyptus Village, Laurel Oaks and the Port LaBelle Ranchettes. These four Port LaBelle subdivisions were designed with greenbelt areas surrounding the neighborhoods, and plentiful oak and fruit trees, with all underground utilities (except for the Ranchettes) to preserve the uncluttered natural open space look.
In recent years three additional subdivisions were built including Mira Verde, a 140 unit one-story apartment complex with subsidized housing for agricultural employees; Oak Haven, with 35 two-acre executive home sites; and Tanglewood, with 54 manufactured homes on small lots. A one-story apartment complex for subsidized elderly housing has also been built on the southwest corner of Eucalyptus Village.
There are currently about 5000 residents in Port LaBelle and about 1600 homes. An additional 100 homes are expected to be built each year for the next few years. It has been estimated that a 50% build out of Port LaBelle’s 13,000 lots will not take place until 2033 and a complete build out near the end of the 21st Century.