More homes coming to northern Lakewood Ranch

jajones1@bradenton.comJanuary 3, 2014 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Builder Taylor Morrison is seeking approval for the third phase of its Esplanade Golf and Country Club community, including 311 single family and 112 multifamily units.

Spread over 600 acres north of Rangeland Road and south of the future 44th Avenue extension, Esplanade would ultimately include 1,250 home sites, according to the Taylor Morrison website.

"The golf course is expected to open this month," company spokeswoman Cammie Longenecker said Thursday.

Ground was broken for Esplanade in 2011. It is billed as an active lifestyle community, with walking trails, a grand ballroom, fitness and aerobics center, billiard room, library and more.

Esplanade is the second major community to be developed at Lakewood Ranch north of State Road 70, following by a year Pat Neal's Central Park community.

Immediately to the south of Esplanade, Lennar Homes recently received approval for the second phase of its Bridgewater community on 44 acres.

Bridgewater is Lennar's first project in Lakewood Ranch. The second phase would include 106 lots, said Manatee County planner Debbie Perron.

Lennar has long built homes at Heritage Harbour, which ranks second in size to Lakewood Ranch among Manatee County master-planned communities.

At the groundbreaking for Bridgewater in July, Matt Devereaux, director of sales and marketing for Lennar Homes, told the Herald that his company has long wanted to build in Lakewood Ranch.

"So when the opportunity came up that we could be a builder here, we wanted to jump on that opportunity," Devereaux said.

Neal is also seeking county approvals for the Loraine Riker Revocable Living Trust property at 4215 Pope Road, east of Central Park.

Neal has a contract to buy the property if he can get county approval for the 120 single family homes he proposes to build there.

Also on the drawing board is Lakewood Centre, a 697-acre project by Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc., to be built on the northeast corner of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and State Road 70. Planned at Lakewood Centre are thousands of homes and apartments, and more than 1 million square feet of commercial and office space.

Todd Pokrywa, SMR's vice president of planning, agreed Thursday that the pace of development at Lakewood Ranch, north of SR 70, seems to be accelerating.

"Current and planned projects north of State Road 70 are responding to the increased market demand for a wide variety of residential products within and immediately adjacent to the master planned community of Lakewood Ranch," Pokrywa said. "This uptick in residential growth continues to help create the critical mass necessary in order for the long planned commercial and office components to follow in the mixed-use Lakewood Centre."

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.

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