PARRISH -- Neal Communities has purchased $8 million of land in Parrish through three of its subsidiaries from City National Bank of Florida.
The deal includes 812 acres on agriculturally zoned land west of U.S. 301 and north of Moccasin Wallow Road, according to land records. One deal saw 512 acres sell for $6 million, while 300 acres sold for $2 million in a second deal, according to land records.
The 512-acre piece was valued at $5.7 million in 2012, according to the Manatee County property appraiser, while the 300-acre piece was last valued at $2.9 million in 2012.
Of that, 596 acres will be planned for single family homes, said Leisa Weintraub, vice president for marketing for Neal Communities.
The wave of land deals comes as builders are pulling permits to start more new home construction, driving the housing market to a slow, but continued recovery. New home sales helped fuel the March home sales report when 29 percent of 2,664 homes for sale in Manatee County sold, according to real estate experts.
"We will hold it for investment and, in due course, plan it for single-family homes," Weintraub said. "We plan to build a community for a national builder."
The largest parcel was divided up among several Neal subsidiaries: Parrish Holdings has a 77 percent interest in the company, Southern Land Parrish has a 13 percent stake and Southern Hemisphere Manatee has a 9.8 percent share in the four parcels sold, according to the deed.
Another Neal company, North Manatee Investment, is listed as the buyer for the 300 acres.
The 111 acres, valued at $255,000, on the northwest corner of Moccasin Wallow Road and U.S. 301 is not part of the deal. That property is owned by Stuart Chin's Chin Properties of Palmetto, according to land records.
City National is also selling 315 acres southwest of the other parcels. That land was valued at $3 million in 2012, according to land records.
The large land transactions come as Lakewood Ranch-based Neal Communities has several developments in the pipeline for Parrish.
"It's a growing market, and there are quite a few existing communities up in that direction," Weintraub said.
Forest Creek is about 2 miles south of the newly acquired land, featuring homes in the $160,000 to $200,000 range. Another Neal development, Rivers Reach in southeastern Parrish near North Rye and Upper Manatee roads, includes homes in the $170,000 to $270,000 range. A new phase of the development was announced in February.
"We are excited to offer homebuyers even more choices at this unique and scenic community," said David Hunihan, director of sales for Neal Communities. "Growth has moved north over the past few years; we took strategic steps to re-ignite this community with great pricing, homesites and amenities in 2012. Now it's time for the second phase, which will offer buyers even more personalization and floor plans."
Another Parrish project, Silverleaf, is not yet open. It will feature 732 homes on 263 acres when built out. A fourth community in the works, Canoe Creek, will place homes on 300 acres along Golf Course Road in the low $100,000s.
Ryland Homes' Copperstone community is south of the newly purchased land. Phase two of that community at 115th Avenue East and Moccasin Wallow Road is now under way.
Another unrelated large land deal in unincorporated Manatee County is tabbed as an investment. A St. Petersburg company, Big Red Bull LLC, a division of America II Electronics, purchased $4.9 million of land April 23 and 25 in the Pomello Park development of Myakka City, according to land records.
Big Red Bull purchased 150 acres of farm land plus storage buildings at 6357 County Road 675 in Myakka City from Joseph Cincotta for $3.2 million, according to land records, as well as 311 acres from Joseph Brennick for $2.9 million in the same neighborhood.
The deal is considered an investment for Michael Galinski, chief executive officer and founder of America II Electronics in St. Petersburg, which makes electronic components, according to Cheryl Ismark, a registered agent for Big Red Bull.
Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-525-3192. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.