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Updated: 02/26/2014 08:00:02AM

Mosaic builds masterpiece for high rollers

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Ten years ago, Mosaic was on its way to becoming perhaps the largest phosphate company in the world and it stepped on a few toes in the process. There were lawsuits filed to slow down the giant mining company as it chomped away at land deemed sensitive to the Peace River water supply.

That seems like so long ago. While environmentalists and those who oversee our water supply maintain a vigil over phosphate mining’s progress, Mosaic has carefully crafted an image of a caring member of the community. Its leadership has invested heavily in charitable causes and community endeavors while pulling back from some of the more controversial areas it planned to mine — all the while becoming more open about its business.

Now, Mosaic has achieved perhaps its greatest public relations achievement yet with the opening of the Streamsong resort near Fort Meade.

The phosphate company took 16,000 mined acres in the middle of the state, land that had been mined in the 1960s before new laws and public scrutiny raised the bar for reclamation.

The architects of Streamsong — both the lodge and the golf courses — took advantage of the man-made lake and dunes that resulted from years of storing sand to create what is nothing less than a masterpiece, albeit a costly one with a nearly $100 million price tag.

There are two golf courses that are already gaining a world-wide reputation for being different from anything else in Florida. The two courses utilize the dunes and natural landscaping to closely resemble links courses you might see in the British Open in Scotland or Ireland.

The Lodge, a fabulous building with a curved front that features glass from top to bottom, has 216 guest rooms and a 14,000-square-foot spa. There are also three restaurants at the lodge that feature everything from fine dining to bar-type food. The 4,500-square-foot clubhouse has another 12 guests rooms.

“We wanted this to be a model for economic and environmental stimulus,” said David Townsend, senior manager for public affairs.

The environmental success is easy to see when you tour the resort and think about the scarred landscape that once covered the site. And, the economic impact on the area — towns like Lakeland, Bartow and Lake Wales — has been keen with about 300 people hired to work at the resort.

Townsend said Mosaic targeted the “luxury traveler” and large corporations when it planned the facility. It is becoming a prime location for big companies to schedule retreats — a remote place where managers and executives can truly get away from it all.

There is a drawback, however. Most wager-earners may never be able to afford to spend a night there or play golf.

While Townsend said rates at the lodge and golf courses are more reasonable in the summer months, a round of golf in season, with the cost of a caddy, is about $300. Rooms in peak season are $400 a night.

Townsend, however, said people from “all walks of life” are getting a new impression of Florida by staying at the resort.

We tip our hat to Mosaic for showcasing its ability to utilize mined land and to boost the state’s economy by growing new jobs.

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