Neal buys more land in Manatee, starts new subdivisions

mjohnson@bradenton.comJanuary 31, 2014 

MANATEE -- It's a busy week for Neal Communities.

As local real estate brokerages find themselves with new home inventories at some of their lowest levels in years, Lakewood Ranch-based Neal is bringing more home sites and homes onto the market.

This week, the company closed a $1.7 million purchase of 28 acres on Prospect Road in south Manatee County. The company plans to build 45 homes on the land, which is near two other recently completed Neal projects, Mandalay and Woodbrook.

David and Melanie Parrish were the sellers in the transaction. The property is also roughly bounded by Saunders Road and Tuttle Avenue.

The new community will be named Woodland Trace and is expected to open late this year. Company CEO Pat Neal called the development "a repeat of Woodlands."

Neal said the homes in Mandalay and Woodlands sold quickly, which prompted his company to look for more land in the same area to satisfy buyer demand.

"We've had great success in the south Manatee area," he said.

Mandalay opened in 2005 and sold out in 2009. Leisa Weintraub, Neal's vice president of marketing, said Woodbrook is expected to sell out this year.

The new subdivision is

planned to feature Neal Communities' Cove Series of homes. Those homes measure between 1,800 and 2,400 square feet. Current examples of the homes are selling in the Central Park community in East Manatee for prices starting around $250,000.

Also this week, the company broke ground in its new Silverleaf community in Parrish. The community, south of U.S. 301 and about 3 miles east of Interstate 75, is slated to have 713 homes on 263 acres. The homes are expected to sell in the high $100,000 range. Home sizes will range between 1,079 and 3,000 square feet.

The first home in the development is expected to be complete by Aug 14, Weintraub said.

Silverleaf is one of a number of new Neal communities being built north of Bradenton. The company is trying to get 1,200 acres of land it owns on Moccasin Wallow Road in Parrish rezoned for a 1,999-home community.

The first village to be built there will be named Fieldstone.

The company also recently reached a deal to be one of seven homebuilders to put up homes on land in Hillsborough County. Neal Communities is actively searching for other Hillsborough properties on which to build.

The homes can't be completed too soon for real estate professionals. According to Trendgraphix, a real estate statistics company that prepares date for Michael Saunders & Co., the home inventory in Manatee County is between four and five months. That number is up from a two-year low of 2.8 months in May 2013.

Moves in the Silverleaf and Woodland Trace neighborhoods come after Neal Communities' best sales year.

The company sold 826 new homes in 2013 and reported revenue of more than $220 million.

Neal plans to open eight new communities across Manatee, Sarasota and Lee counties in 2014.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.

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