LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Main Street Lakewood Ranch merchants will have to wait until the end of the summer before residents from the apartments across the street patronize stores and restaurants.
The Venue, a 237-unit urban apartment community being built on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard next to the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, was projected to open in July. Now, the onsite construction company says it won't be ready until fall.
About 100 construction workers have been working on three four-story buildings that will comprise The Venue at Lakewood Ranch. Much work is still needed on all three buildings, but everything is running smoothly, according to Allen Stearns, project superintendent for TX-Morrow Construction, the sister company of The Venue's developer, Atlanta-based Davis Development.
"We've had a lot of interest and many people have stopped in to inquire. We are on schedule and there are no issues," said Stearns, who is housed in a mobile unit serving as the construction site office while directing all leasing questions to The Venue website thevenueatlr.com.
The Venue is intended to have the luxury feel of a modern, downtown apartment, offering one-, two- and three-bedroom units featuring gourmet kitchens, 9-foot ceilings, wood floors, and private patios and balconies. The gated community will offer handicap-accessible apartments and amenities such a fitness, gaming and business center with WiFi and an outdoor saltwater pool.
Stearns says the developer is making sure the apartment community is built to Florida hurricane codes.
Lakewood Ranch's Country Club East resident Alison Blevins said she's happy to see apartments in the neighborhood.
"I think it's going to be great for Main Street," Blevins said. "For a while, there was a lot of turnover here, but this will be very good for business."
Keller Williams Realty, The Venue's neighbor, welcomes a partnership and is waiting for the leasing office to surface.
"Any of the Realtors would be happy to rent their apartments out, but no one knows who's in charge right now," said Andrea Scheck of Keller Williams. "It will be interesting to see how it plays out and how fast it goes up. Some have questions about how it's being built, and some really like it."
Heading north on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard past State Road 70, the 256-unit Creekside Apartments, owned by PAC Land Development of Orlando, is moving ahead in anticipation of a July 15 opening.
About 70 apartments have already been leased through the end of the year, and only two remain available in the first building on 24 acres across the street from Manatee Technical Institute's East Campus and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Carla Thomas of Pegasus Residential, Creekside's leasing and management company, said she is looking forward to being a part of the Lakewood Ranch community.
"We want to get plugged into Main Street," she said. "We truly believe in becoming a partner with the local area, getting involved and giving back."
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.