History of Viera, Florida, Cattle Ranch To Master-Planned Community

Welcome To Viera, Florida
Welcome To Viera, Florida

Within the central coastal region of Brevard County, Florida, adjacent to the City of Melbourne, lies the masterfully planned community of Viera. The town runs about 8 miles along Interstate 95 and currently comprises the areas of Viera East and Viera Central. Viera West is now in development.

The History of Viera

In 1981 the Duda family had a vision to build an entire community that would offer an exemplary quality of living to its residents. Lofty dreams and hopes of a future full of promise, were nothing new to this group. Family patriarch, Andrew Duda had migrated to this "Land of Opportunity" in 1912 from the Eastern European area that is present day Slovakia. He founded the land development company A. Duda & Sons, Inc., and amassed a large amount of land that was eventually known as the Cocoa Ranch. Over the years, the Duda family donated over 622 acres of this land to the aspiring town, for various uses.

Andrew Duda
Mr. Andrew Duda (Source: duda.com)

From the very beginning it was understood that this tremendous undertaking would be a long-term mission, requiring a massive amount of help and great faith. The Dudas shared this dream with other like-minded visionaries who caught the vision and ran with it. The town, although years from becoming a reality, was named Viera, which means faith in the Dudas' native Slovak language.

The ambitious community would require the support of community planners, local businesses and area leaders and thus the Viera Company was formed. The Company spear-headed the formulation of the area and continues its development to this day. It is made up of Viera Realty, Inc., the real estate brokerage office for the area, Viera Builders, the company that is predominantly responsible for construction, the world class Duran Golf Club, Viera Commercial Properties which manages all the non-residential matters of the community, and DUDA, the diversified land development company that runs various agricultural and real estate operations in the area.

In keeping with the A. Duda & Sons, Inc. legacy of conscientious land stewardship, the Viera Company has resolved to work in conjunction with local, regional and state government agencies to conserve the environment. Preservation of area wetlands and animal habitats are major concerns and every effort is made to build homes and neighborhoods that maintain and enhance the environment.

Serving the people of the community and helping to provide opportunities for quality living has long been a fundamental belief of the Dudas. As such, the Viera Company contributes money to organizations that serve the community, like Devereux School, the Brevard Zoo and Harmony Farms. It also supports them by facilitating fundraising events, and community volunteer opportunities.

Devereux Florida provides assistance to children with behavioral health and intellectual/developmental disabilities. The Brevard Zoo was built entirely by this community to promote conservation and education. Harmony Farms profoundly impacts the lives of many people by facilitating the connection of disabled individuals and horses through equine therapy.

The Communities of Viera

Viera East

The Viera development plan was approved in 1990 and less than 2 years later, construction began on the 3,000-acre region of Viera East. Residents of Viera first settled in this beautifully landscaped and well-maintained area of single family homes and multi-family complexes.

Included among them is the Viera East Golf Club which was created to cater to needs of the young and the older. The 18-hole, public course was designed by Joe Lee and encompasses 12 neighborhoods that are connected by the community's recreational trail.

Viera East Golf Club
Viera East Golf Club

Designated by former FL Governor, Lawton Chiles, as a "Florida Greenway," the trail winds around lakes and through conservation spaces and community parks. Native critters like tortoises and gophers and even bigger animals like deer and alligators can still be seen enjoying their natural habitats, while children and adults ride bikes in artistically designed play areas, or play games in the state-of-the-art sports fields.

The Ralph M. Williams Jr. Elementary School opened in this area in 1999 and has excelled. Balancing out the resident's others needs are the Village Center Shoppes of Murrell at the center of Viera East, other stores and restaurants a little North of those, and 2 office parks along Wickham Road's commercial corridor. Faith Viera Lutheran Church, Prince of Peace Church and New Life Church, are also located in this region.

Local healthcare provider, Wuesthoff Health Systems has also established several of its facilities in the area, including The Wuesthoff Assisted Living Center on Murrell Road, Wuesthoff Progressive Care Center, and Brevard Hospice. Other medical centers in Viera East include the Autumn House Alzheimer's Center and One Senior Place.

The community's most popular recreational spot, the Brevard Zoo is in the southern end of Viera East.

Monkey at The Brevard Zoo
Monkey at The Brevard Zoo

Viera Central

While Viera Central may not contain as many natural reserves and conservation projects as the other regions, it is a well-structured and uniquely designed area. Although there are many stylish residential neighborhoods of townhouses, condos and lavish estates here, it is considered the most commercial of the Viera regions. Its varied activities are a major reason why many are choosing to live in, and visit this fast growing and much lauded Florida community.

Think of Viera and The Avenue Viera quickly comes to mind. It is Viera Central's premiere open air shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. Here national retail establishments and famous food franchises run alongside trendy boutiques and independently owned, elegant restaurants. From 10 AM to 9 PM on most days, this place is abuzz with activity.

The Avenue Viera
The Avenue Viera

However, this bustling community features many other beautiful venues and notable perks. The area boasts two A-rated elementary schools and Viera High School, which is well known for its flagship Academy of Business and Finance, and Digital Arts Academy programs. Nine of Viera's twelve religious institutions are located here.

As the home to Brevard County's Government Offices, this region houses The Harry T. and Harriet V. Moore Justice Center, Brevard Country Educational Services Facility and the Brevard County Sheriff's West Precinct office, among others. High tech and innovative medical facilities here afford quality care to residents, including The Veteran's Administration Clinic, Viera Health Park and Viera Hospital.

Brevard County Government Offices
Brevard County Government Offices

Community parks are popular in the town but none so much as the 125 acre Viera Regional Park which stays busy thanks to its large community center and the many organized sporting events held there year round. The center offers an abundance of classes and activities for every age, from children to seniors.

The Duran Golf Club and the Space Coast Stadium are two of the most popular venues in Viera Central. The Golf Club is world renowned for its Development Center and Academy of Golf but it also features a grand, West Indies styled clubhouse. Additionally, the Club's elegant Tradewinds Restaurant offers fine dining to patrons and the public. The stadium was formally the spring training home of the Washington Nationals major league baseball team and also formerly the home field for the Brevard County Manatees minor league baseball team. In 2017 the stadium received a $30 million renovation to accommodate the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA). The renovated complex will host amateur baseball games, and both amateur and professional softball games.

Viera West

This region is currently in the developmental stage. The Viera Company's plan is for this area to complete the Viera vision of a community that offers quality living and superlative values to its residents.

Road Construction, Viera West
Road Construction, Viera West

The neighborhoods will follow a four-village concept, where each village is connected by sidewalks that offer easy access to shopping and commerce. At the center of each village will be a "Town Center" with offices and retail establishments closer to the center, followed by flats and townhomes and then larger single-family homes toward the edges. All the homes should connect to the village centers by trails and walkways.

The remainder of this area will be permanent open space. This noteworthy hallmark will include the 5,112-acre Viera Wilderness Park which will serve as a wetland and long-term habitat for many of the area's indigenous wildlife.

The thriving "town" of Viera is one of Florida's fastest growing, award-winning communities. From the day construction first began on Viera East in 1992, to the time of the last census in 2010, the population had already surpassed 17,000 residents. With all the promising plans to come, that number is expected to have more than doubled by 2020.

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