PARRISH -- Riding an upswing in the housing market, Neal Communities, a Lakewood Ranch-based home building company, is continuing to expand its imprint on East Manatee County.
In June, the company reopened River's Reach in Parrish, a 124-lot gated-entry community that offers 2,161-3,117-square-foot homes in the high $100s. The development located off Rye Road includes a sand volleyball court, canoe and kayak livery, playground, pool and fitness facility. A second phase is currently in the planning and engineering process and is expected to be open for sales next year. So far, 12 residents have moved into the community.
"We felt the timing was right," said Leisa Weintraub, the company's vice president of marketing. "The market has improved enough."
Neal Communities originally opened the community in 2006 but closed River's Reach years later due to low sales.
Independent Realtor Linda Reynolds described River's Reach as one of her favorite developments.
"It's not too far from everything but it's still quiet," she said. "There's nature. The mature trees were left there. He (developer Pat Neal) is very conscious about the environment. He doesn't strip the land and put in new vegetation."
In addition to its River's Reach project, the company is in the preliminary stages of planning a 100-
plus development in East Bradenton. Eagle Trace is projected to have 74 single family units and 108 single family semi-detached/paired villas.
Other projects by Neal Communities also are doing well. The Central Park neighborhood in Lakewood Ranch has surpassed the 300th home sale mark.
The community, which debuted in 2010, also led the way in sales among nine Neal neighborhoods, which together saw 42 homes sold last month. Neal's 282 sales year to date have the company up 23.5 percent from June of last year.
"He's one of the builders that's showing times are changing," Reynolds said.
The company's two newest projects are Grand Palm in Venice, which will feature 2,000 units, and Boca Royale Golf & Country Club in Englewood. Grand Palm will open in late summer and Boca Royale will open in early 2013.
Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter: @_1NickWilliams