LAKEWOOD RANCH -- With communities already in Orlando and Tampa, Meritage Homes is planning to further expand into Manatee County with a third development off Lorraine Road and State Road 64 in Lakewood Ranch.
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Meritage Homes filed a memorandum of agreement to purchase 304 acres of undeveloped land from Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc. in October, court records show. Although the property is approved for up to 913 homes, the company said it plans to build just 475 homes.
The proposed community, as yet unnamed, will have two entrances: one on State Road 64, the other on Lorraine Road.
"We're looking to increase our footprint in the Tampa area, so this was a natural transition for us," said Meritage spokeswoman Katie Suggs. "We're really looking for land, and when we see an opportunity and it makes sense, we get down really quickly."
The project will join Meritage's list of other upcoming
communities in East Manatee. Raven Crest, on Upper Manatee River Road, and Serenity Creek, east of Pope Road and south of S.R. 64, are under construction now and will open model homes this summer.
Meritage Homes is one of the nation's largest homebuilders with communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The company reported nearly $125 million in net earnings for 2013.
The proposed Lakewood Ranch development is out for a three-week county review and then will be passed on to the development review committee, said Margaret Tusings, the planner assigned to the project.
Meritage expects to be selling homes there by mid-2015, the company said. Homes will range from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet on lots ranging from 50 to 75 feet wide.
"We concentrate a lot on flexible living. You'll see on all our floor plans flex spaces to cater to those working from home, those welcoming other family into their home," Suggs said.
Amenities planned are a community pool, playground and playing field.
Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @sabrinarocco.