EAST MANATEE -- It could take five to six years to achieve build-out, but Rosedale, a gated golf course community that was established in 1993, is growing again.
Construction crews were busy Wednesday with site preparation work needed to eventually put 475 single-family detached lots on 237.3 acres on property west of Lakewood Ranch High School and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and south of the 44th Avenue Extension.
It will significantly alter the size of Rosedale.
The community now has 650 home sites, but only 22 of those are on the market, said Patrick Hogan, vice president of the Hunt Group of Companies.
The expansion would have probably come sooner, were it not for the souring of the economy, Hogan said.
With so little inventory for sale at Rosedale, and improvements in the housing market, Hogan said his reading is that timing is now right for an expansion.
Initially, the developer had intended to add another nine golf holes, but opted instead to add more homes, based on market demand.
Clint Miller, a resident at Rosedale for 12 years, said there are several
upsides to the expansion for existing residents.
"I think we are all quite enthusiastic about it. The developer made a number of changes that will benefit residents. They added a second gate on 44th Avenue. The other thing that really benefits the country club is to have costs spread over a larger base," Miller said.
A portion of the 44th Avenue extension already exists at Lakewood Ranch, linking Gullett Elementary School, Central Park and Lakewood Ranch Commerce Park, which is home to several high tech businesses.
Other parts of the 44th Avenue extension, including an overpass at Interstate 75, are probably years away. Eventually, motorists will be able to take Cortez Road to 44th Avenue and drive easily between Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch.
Hogan is listed with Robert A. Hunt in filings with the Florida Secretary of State as the two principals of Newton Developments Inc., which sought approval for the Rosedale expansion.
Manatee County Commissioners signed off on a zoning ordinance approving the expansion in April 2011.
The developer's focus is on preparing infrastructure, but Hogan said he is hopeful that the construction of home models can start in September or October.
The developers bought the land that became Rosedale in 1989. At that time, it had a zoning that would have allowed mobile homes, a far cry from the upscale community that was built for affluent retirees and those looking to retire in a few years.
Originally, developers bought 305 acres. Subsequently, they purchased a 104-acre tract and a 237-acre tract, both from Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, developer of Lakewood Ranch, Hogan said.
The original Rosedale was built entirely by developers.
This time around, the developers plan to also bring in several site builders.
Hunt and Hogan, both originally from Canada, had done many other projects before launching Rosedale.
As Baby Boomers zeroed in on retirement, they figured there would be a demand for upscale golf course communities in sunny Florida. "We figured we might as well get into the game," Hogan said.
They broke earth on Rosedale one year earlier than their giant neighbor, Lakewood Ranch.
The typical house at Rosedale measures 2,000 to 2,400-square-feet, but models range in size from 1,700 square feet to "as big as people want them," Hogan said.
Prospective home buyers can find more information at the Rosedale sales center, 5815 87th St. E., just outside the Rosedale front gate off State Road 70.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 941-745-7021 or tweet @jajones1