In 1968 nearby Florida Technological University opened, and has grown to become the nation's third largest university, the University of Central Florida (UCF). The continued development of UCF, its adjacent Research Park, and the growth and development of Central Florida's aerospace and defense industries has fueled consistent, steady development of high quality, suburban style residential neighborhoods.
Since the 1970s the focus on up-scale neighborhoods and a better quality of life has made Winter Springs one of Central Florida's premiere destinations. In 1972, the City incorporated its name to Winter Springs, and is now the largest city in Seminole County, on the basis of land area. The Winter Springs Town Center, designed to replicate the feel of “old town” Florida in the geographic heart of the city, opened in 2002. This mixed-use development provides an urban center for the City with a 54,000 SF Publix store and 61,000 SF of specialty retail shops and office space. Winter Springs is now home to over 33,282 people and is poised to remain one of the state's most livable ‘small towns'. Money magazine recently listed Winter Springs on America's Top 100 Best Places to live list.