by Mary Shanklin, Contact Reporter
March 10, 2017
Down a remote country road between Leesburg and Howey-in-the-Hills stands a Black Angus ranch outfitted with stables, groves and six houses that have long drawn one of Central Florida’s most iconic entrepreneurs.
About 15 years after he started buying the land, Harvey Massey plans to auction off his 1,200-acre Journey Circle M Ranch off Number 2 Road. Sprawling behind a line of black, four-slat wooden fences, the rolling acreage is perched on the edge of an area that’s poised to boom with more than 10,000 new homes in coming years.
“It’s just been a hobby I’ve had and I love it,” said the 75-year-old who drives there from his Winter Park lakefront estate usually once or twice a week. “I love to improve it.”
The future of Journey Circle M Ranch is likely to be determined at the auction scheduled for April at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey.
Despite the backhoes, dump trucks and cranes plowing new communities nearby, Massey’s property lacks the water and sewer lines that appeal to developers. And, so far, that path of development has not yet transformed that area of Lake County. But an adjacent owner recently applied to annex into Leesburg for development reasons, Massey said.