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Townhome community replacing radio towers in Naples area

Soluna Naples

The retired transmission towers for former Naples radio station WNOG soon will be replaced by a multifamily residential community on the southwest corner of Tree Farm Road and Massey Street.

Texas-based homebuilder D.R. Horton recently purchased the 18.2-acre lot at 1555 Massey St., where it plans a 108-unit townhome development to be named Soluna, a combination of the Spanish words for sun and moon. Soluna will have 16 sixplex residential buildings and three fourplex buildings. The development will include an amenity area with a swimming pool and a dog park, site development plans filed with Collier County Growth Management show.

The townhomes will be built on both sides of a road that will loop around a more than 1-acre rectangular lake that will be created in the center of the development. The only entrance to the community will be off Tree Farm Road, plans show.

The land was rezoned from rural agriculture to residential planned unit development to allow for future townhomes. Soluna’s property at the roundabout where Massey, Tree Farm, Woodcrest Drive and Calusa Pines Drive meet is bordered by other housing developments: Canopy to the west, Compass Landing to the north, Mockingbird Crossing to the east and Vanderbilt Country Club to the south. About 4 acres of the Soluna PUD near the roundabout in its northeast corner will be conserved as wetlands preserve, while about 2 acres in its southeast corner along Massey Street will remain open for floodplain compensation.

Home to only broadcast transmission towers for more than 30 years, the land originally was owned by Palmer Communications in 1988 and then acquired by Meridian Broadcasting in 1996. D.R. Horton purchased the property for more than $3 million in November from Sun Broadcasting of Fort Myers. Nearly half of the acreage was already cleared for four AM towers, while the remaining land had pine flatwoods, cypress and exotics, Collier County plans show.

Massey Street was the third location for the towers transmitting the 5,000-watt WNOG, Naples’ first radio station. Before signing off this spring, the local station broadcasted or simulcasted at 1270 AM for more than 65 years.

Representing “Wonderful Naples on the Gulf,” WNOG first signed on the air in 1954. Its original studio and transmitters were on Palm Street off U.S. 41 East. After Hurricane Donna flooded the radio station in 1960, its studio and towers were moved farther inland to an unpaved rural road known as County Road 856. That street in East Naples later was paved and named Radio Road because of WNOG, which operated there for nearly 30 years. The station’s two towers were slightly south of where Livingston Road meets Radio Road today.

WNOG’s towers were finally moved in the late 1980s from Radio Road to Massey Street, where the four-tower array operated for more than 30 years until this spring. The site once was a secluded part of Collier County off the beaten path until housing developments recently sprang up around it in the area east of Collier Boulevard and south of Immokalee Road.

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