Lake Mary, located roughly 20 miles north of Downtown Orlando, is considered one of the fastest growing suburban cities in Central Florida. Dubbed the ‘Jewel of Seminole County,’ it is known as a choice location for high-tech businesses, corporate offices and light manufacturing facilities, as well as, being a well-planned, established residential community with excellent schools, surrounded by designer golf courses, outstanding restaurants and numerous places to shop. Residents love Lake Mary’s tree-lined streets, safe, quiet neighborhoods and family-friendly environment.
Located just off of I-4 is Lake Mary’s High-Tech/Industrial Corridor. Described as Central Florida’s version of Silicon Valley, it attracts leading-edge companies in fields such as telecommunications, medical technology and microelectronics. Just as desirable is Lake Mary’s downtown development district. Walkable by design, it features over 25 shops, restaurants and professional services, a weekly farmers market, the SunRail commuter rail station and the Lake Mary Events Center.
Lake Mary also boasts plenty of parks and a fabulous trail system for walking, biking, jogging and rollerblading. The Rinehart Trail, part of the Cross Seminole Trail system, connects in the north with the Seminole Wekiva Trail at Heathrow and in the south with Orlando’s Cady Way Trail. In Lake Mary, the trail system can be accessed at Trailhead Park, which features ample parking, a concession stand run by Smoothie King, restroom facilities, picnic tables and a fitness course.
Like much of the Central Florida area, Lake Mary’s beginnings were primarily citrus-based. The sleepy agricultural community started as a railroad flagstop called Bent, then Bent’s Station, located along the Orlando-Sanford rail tracks. Once the South Florida Railroad established it as a stop in 1880, the village of Bent — named after grove owner John Bent who had purchased 159 acres in 1875 for less than $200 — began to come into its own. Settlers, not fond of saying they hailed from Bent, began to call the area Lake Mary reportedly after ministers wife Mary Sundell, who settled on the northern shores of the lake. The first post office was established in 1887, however, it was Lake Mary’s third postmaster, Swedish entrepreneur and jack-of-all-trades, Axel Sjoblom, that is credited with laying the city’s foundation. He platted the first subdivision on Crystal Lake in 1916, served the community’s check-cashing and mail posting needs, supplied lumber, groceries and shoes, sold cemetery plots and real estate, performed marriages and funerals, ran his sawmill and orange groves, and even hailed the train, all out of his general store. Though the Lake Mary Chamber of Commerce was started in 1923, it would take five decades and a “Mouse” for largely rural Lake Mary to incorporate. With the surge in Disney development, the seventies transformed Lake Mary into an exurb, commuter-town serving the Orlando industry. However, a strategic vision would emerge, catapulting Lake Mary’s residential and economic development in the late eighties and early nineties.
Today, that targeted economic development vision remains strong. Partnerships between County Government and the Chamber of Commerce continue to bolster the Lake Mary area, proactively attracting national and international attention as a top spot for business relocation and investment, and effectively permanently housing more well-known corporations. Currently, upwards of 14,000 people call Lake Mary home. Both residents and corporations alike relocate here for the same primary reasons: location and education. Convenient to both the beach (40 minutes) and Orlando’s top area attractions (30 minutes), coupled with being one of the top nationally-ranked public school districts in the state, makes Lake Mary shine in the Central Florida sun.
Approximate Distance to:
Orlando International Airport: 33 miles
Universal Studios, Florida: 28 miles
Walt Disney World Resort: 34 miles
Downtown Orlando: 20 miles
Heathrow is a master-planned, private guard-gated residential community in suburban Lake Mary, Florida. Founded in 1985 by self-made, frozen food king Jeno Paulucci, owner of Chun King and inventor of the pizza roll, who announced in the late 1970s his plans to build a luxurious residential development and business hub. Initially met with skepticism, until Paulucci wooed the American Automobile Association (AAA) to relocate its headquarters from suburban Washington D.C. to his Heathrow business center, effectively putting Lake Mary on the map. Today, when those considering a relocation think Lake Mary, they first think Heathrow. Containing approximately 2,000 homes of all sizes in twenty-eight distinctive neighborhoods, Heathrow also is host to a golf course, a community clubhouse, a soccer field, playground lake with dock and an office park. Homebuyers can find an array of home choices flanking tree-lined streets. Choices range from multi-story condos, golf and tennis villas, to executive homes and gated estates, all surrounded by shimmering lakes and lush woodlands within minutes of area schools, restaurants, churches, shopping and hospitals.