Naples, says Bill Earls, is a garden spot.
Not in the sense of jasmine and swaying palms, though the city on Gulf coast is abundantly floriferous; it's simply idyllic. A place, says the realtor, "where people who are financially successful decide they want to live, not ask “where do I have to live."
Like Carmel, Aspen, Scottsdale, "Absolutely pristine - a safe and easy life," he says. “A real escape."
The top broker/director at John R. Wood Realty for twenty-three years, Earls sells around $150 million a year. He knows this market very well.
Naples, he says, "attracts powerful people: CEOs, CFOs, entrepreneurs. Many fly in and out, running their businesses on the go. On any given day at our municipal airport the private jets are stacked like cordwood."
Most come for the winter season, when the days and nights are balmy, with little rain. "The only truly subtropical climate in the U.S. is Naples to Palm Beach and south," he says. "And Miami and Palm Beach don't have the features of Naples."
People like its small town character, he says, and "the lowest tax rate in the state of Florida."
"Is there another place in the country with as many gourmet restaurants?" he wonders aloud. "They exist to cater to the type of people who dine out every night and expect the best."
Those who might never ignite the Viking ranges in their half-million dollar kitchens.
Of course there's spectacular golf, he says, and pristine beaches without "t-shirt shops, little coconut bars, and rock bands." Along the waterfront are several five star hotels, private homes and intimately scaled condos, many with docks.
Quietly exclusive. A garden spot.
"Even after 30 years," he says, "when I travel and come home to Naples, I have a new appreciation for this city."