Middlebrook is a community in Ave Maria, Florida. Ave Maria, Florida, United States, is a planned college town currently under development in Collier County, near Immokalee and Naples. It is an unincorporated community that was founded in 2005 by Ave Maria Development Company, a partnership consisting of the Barron Collier Companies and the Ave Maria Foundation led by Roman Catholic philanthropist and activist Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and the leader of Ave Maria University at the time. Monaghan served as president of Ave Maria University until February 2011. The development of the town was made possible when the Florida legislature created the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District, a limited local government whose purpose is to provide community infrastructure, including community development systems, facilities, services, projects, and improvements. The town is home to various institutions and businesses, and local events are covered by a local online newspaper called the Ave Herald.
The town was planned with the large Ave Maria Oratory church in the center, the facade of which displays sculptor Márton Váró’s 30-foot-tall (9 m) sculpture of the Annunciation, depicting the Archangel Gabriel greeting the Virgin Mary with the words “Ave Maria” (Hail Mary). The Oratory serves as the home of the Roman Catholic Quasi-parish of Ave Maria Oratory, part of the Diocese of Venice, which serves as the parish for the university and the local residents. One of the oratory’s most distinctive characteristics is its steel structure, much of which is exposed internally and externally. The landmark church received an architectural award from the American Institute of Steel Construction in 2008. Monaghan has had a significant interest in architecture for more than 50 years and has been one of the world’s largest collectors of the works and memorabilia of Frank Lloyd Wright. He drew the oratory’s first sketches himself on a tablecloth.