Huge Lakewood Centre development taking shape in Lakewood Ranch

skennedy@bradenton.comSeptember 13, 2013 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- A huge project called Lakewood Centre is taking shape on 697 acres of land at Lakewood Ranch.

The project, proposed by applicant SMR North 70 LLC, is slated for construction north of State Road 70, between Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and Pope Road.

Upon completion projected in 2026, the development would feature 4,683 residential units, 1.674 million square feet of commercial space, 1.463 million square feet of office space, a 300-room hotel and 36.8 acres of park land, according to county documents.

The three-phase project was originally approved in August 2008.

Development began with construction of the Lost Creek Resort Apartments a couple of years ago, said Todd Pokrywa, vice president of planning for Schroder-Manatee Ranch Inc.

"Development is also moving forward in Lakewood Centre with Creekside Apartments and Intercoastal Medical Group's new medical facility," he said. "It is anticipated that construction of additional residential components may start in 2014."

The Manatee County Planning Commission Thursday tentatively OK'd SMR's proposal for less commercial and office space in the first phase, and more residential housing than originally requested, according to county documents.

The company requested

an amendment to the development order and map, along with a revision to the zoning ordinance and general development plan.

The amendments, updates and other minor changes "will allow us to move more rapidly in developing Lakewood Centre," said Pokrywa.

The company plans to do a portion of its residential component first, he said, permitting "the critical mass necessary to allow the planned commercial and office uses to follow."

The company was adjusting the timing of residential construction hoping to start sooner, SMR attorney Caleb Grimes said.

"We're trying to move as quickly as we can" due to economic and market demands, he said.

The Manatee County Commission, which makes the final decision, is slated to review the matter Oct. 3.

The county professional planning staff listed as positive aspects "a variety of housing options" with no increase in building height.

On the downside, according to staff, it could negatively impact available capacities, according to its report.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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