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Tiger Woods, Justin Timberlake expansion expected to boost equestrian growth in Wellington

'It draws the top equestrians from around the world to really come here,' Harry Knopp says
Posted at 5:55 PM, Apr 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-25 18:39:16-04

WELLINGTON, Fla. — A 600-acre luxury development planned for Wellington is also going to expand equestrian sports, and experts on the matter said it could make the area the top equestrian destination in the country or even the world.

The project is the brainchild of developer Mike Bellissimo of Wellington Lifestyle Partners (WPL), who have joined with two celebrity stars: Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake.

In addition to putting in single-family custom homes and condos, shopping, offices and dining, the proposed plan, is expected to significantly expand the Wellington International equestrian showgrounds in the village.

Harry Knopp is the owner of Ida Development, which provides equestrian services throughout the area, including building high-end facilities for equestrian farms.

He said the new project will undoubtedly grow both the equestrian community in Wellington and throughout all of Florida.

Knopp said last summer, his business played a big part in Wellington International showground's initial expansion. He said already he's been seeing growth in the equestrian community in wake of that, but said this new project will grow it even more.

RELATED: Tiger Woods, Justin Timberlake team up for new luxury development in Wellington

“It draws the top equestrians from around the world to really come here, and we’re seeing more and more people sell their places in California or Oregon and Washington, and they’re making their base here," said Knopp. "So, they’re staying here for seven months of the year and then maybe leaving for the summer. But part of this expansion is to make this season longer in Wellington."

Knopp also said the new expansion will combine show jumping and dressage into one facility, which he said will transform the grounds into one of, if not the top, show jumping facilities in the world. He said that will draw the world's top trainers and riders not just to Wellington, but to all of Florida, creating economic and equestrian growth.

"As people move here, they come here to train, then they’re buying property, building farms, covered arenas, and quite frankly its happening all over the state," said Knopp. "There’s been other venues, the world equestrian center in Ocala, so Florida is becoming the mecca of the top dressage and show jumping in the world."

Some in the community told WPTV they have fears that with all the people coming down, especially those with significant money, it could push out the people with just one or two horses. Knopp said he has full confidence the developer of this project will look at all impacts.

WPTV's Kate Hussey reached out to Bellissimo but hasn't yet heard back.

Wellington International also released this statement to WPTV, reading in full:

“We are encouraged by the plans that Wellington Lifestyle Partners (WPL) has released for the luxury residential community, The Wellington, as well as the additional amenities at The Shoppes and Cypress Golf Course. The Global Equestrian Group and Wellington International are looking forward to continuing to develop a world-class equestrian competition venue that will remain the staple of this dynamic and growing community for years to come, alongside WPL and their new partners.”