Those traveling U.S. Highway 331 north of Freeport have probably noticed a large entryway into a development by the name of Owl's Head.
The owner/developer of Owl's Head has a dream, and he plans to take 20-30 years to bring it to fruition in the right way.
"My vision is to create an authentic organic agrarian community and it be as sustainable as possible," said owner Doug Duncan.
Duncan envisions community supported agriculture, growing and raising food off the grid as much as possible, including collecting and using rainwater.
The property will have commercial spaces and offer affordable and multi-family housing and assisted living on its more than 1,000 acres. There will be a focus on residential, a balanced community, a well-being balanced population with all generations, the wealthy, and not so much, those who need to be cared for and not.
There will be a mixed-use facility where people can live and work, a town center, a country store that will sell vegetables and meats grown on the property, and a restaurant.
It will be a country town within a town, said Duncan.
The property has a 38-acre lake that will be stocked with fish and there will be boats to take out on the lake.
A five-minute walk will get you to central downtown, which Duncan describes as a balanced walk and drive community.
The higher density will be situated closer to 331 and the rural section will be inward with pastures on the northwest side. On the south side will be more commercial with the higher learning facility and multi-family housing.
Duncan envisions a focus on education with a university partnership for higher learning. He is working with the school board, looking at different facilities at every level as well as culinary and hospital programs focusing on job training.
"There will be different components, such as education with an on-site campus, we will do research, and have transportation options. Culinary will be a focus, and livestock. We hope to have an ag college and teach modern farming," said Duncan. "The plans are not firm, but we have done a preliminary plan with DPZ Architects and Town Planners for a land plan."
Plans are to go vertical on the property in early 2018.
"We are going to move slowly and methodically," said Duncan.
The first structure to go vertical will be a barn.
Duncan describes the barn as more than just a barn, but also an event venue that will be built by the sales center.
From that starting point, the next thing up may be the multi-family units or cottages. The farm will be early, though, he said.
"Everything will be rustic. It will have cattle. We will grow our own vegetables and livestock. We will grow as green as we can," he said.
Duncan lives in Atlanta and has owned a place at Seaside for six years, where he became friends with the town's founder, Robert Davis. In Atlanta, Duncan is chairman of Global Lending Services.
While he saw other developers using a golf course as a centerpiece, he envisioned a walkable farm with edible landscaping.
"When I look at the land and what should be there, I think this is what should be there," he explains. "I want to spend my next 20 or 30 years seeing it to fruition. We will do things in a very thoughtful and meaningful way. Why not provide value and a destination? Create a place you want to spend time at. Come to the farm, pet a goat, ride a horse, shoot a gun, or stay and live there."
This vision has been a collaboration between Duncan and Davis along with DPZ for several years, said Amber Davis, who consults with them.
The development straddles U.S. Highway 331S and is five minutes north of Freeport, 14 miles south of DeFuniak Springs.