Esplanade community planned at Lakewood Ranch

jajones1@bradenton.comOctober 4, 2011 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Builder and developer Taylor Morrison has started work on its Esplanade active lifestyle community on 207 acres north of State Road 70 near Pope Road.

Taylor Morrison closed on the property in August from seller Schroeder-Manatee Ranch and broke ground in September.

Esplanade will be a gated community of 450 maintenance-free detached villas and single-family homes. The price schedule for the new homes has not yet been announced.

What will make Esplanade an active life style community is a recreation director and amenities such as a heated lagoon-style pool and spa, resistance pool, outdoor barbecue space, pickleball and bocce courts. The facilities will all be accessible within Esplanade by golf cart.

At its center, Esplanade will have a clubhouse that includes a fitness and aerobics center, billiard room, library, grand ballroom, card and craft room, and catering kitchen.

The opening of models is anticipated in January and pre-sales and lot reservations are planned for November, said Katy Walker, marketing manager for Taylor Morrison’s West Florida Division.

Until Taylor Morrison gets its models open, it will use the Summerfield information center at 6310 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. as its temporary sales center.

Taylor Morrison decided to go ahead with Esplanade because of the robust health of the new home market at Lakewood Ranch, and the decline of foreclosures there, Walker said.

It’s the timing and the location, she said.

The Ranch now has 165 homes under construction and active commercial projects totaling more than $100 million in private investment dollars, according to developer SMR.

Since Jan. 1, Lakewood Ranch has sold 260 new homes.

“We are being inundated with requests from builders. Positivity builds positivity. We couldn’t be happier,” said SMR spokeswoman Candice McElyea.

Taylor Morrison’s Esplanade brings something new to Lakewood Ranch, and fills the need for an active lifestyle community that consumers have been requesting for several years, McElyea said,

Esplanade will be going into the area where a minor league hockey team and multi-purpose entertainment center were once envisioned.

Center Ice Parkway will be renamed Rangeland Parkway, Walker said.

Taylor Morrison bases its West Florida operation at 501 North Cattleman Road in Sarasota.

The strong home sales are leading a rebound in commercial construction at Lakewood Ranch, said Brian Kennelly, president of LWR Commercial Realty.

“We are seeing a significant increase in commercial activity on the Ranch in response to the 18-month surge we have had in residential construction,” said Kennelly, in a press release. “Traditionally commercial real estate lags behind a bit, and we are now entering that rebound stage.”

Among projects underway at Lakewood Ranch:

n The $52 million Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dental Medicine.

n The 272-unit Lost Creek apartment complex near Lakewood Ranch High School, costing about $30 million.

n Faith Life Church of Branson, Mo., is renovating an existing building in Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park into a 2,500-seat church.

n Reflections, a 40-unit memory care facility costing about $7.5 million.

n Goodwill Manasota’s new 2,200-square-foot donation center, located near Primrose School.

n Kauffman Tire in the Lakewood Walk shopping center, costing about $750,000 and anticipated to open in December.

n SMR is adding lights to eight fields at The Premier Sports Campus at a cost of $1.1 million.

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