MANATEE -- A proposed lakeside apartment complex bordered by newer townhomes and single family homes may soon bring more market-rate rentals to University Parkway.
A property owner-controlled by Gilbane Building Co. of Rhode Island has submitted a final site plan to Manatee County that calls for 180 apartment units at 3415 Broadway Ave. The six-building complex would occupy a little more than nine acres in an area with fewer rental options than University Park to the east.
Contacted about details the project, a representative of the property owner, University Groves Property LLC, declined to comment. Gilbane operates an office in Lakewood Ranch.
Laurie Rastovski, a real estate agent with Michael Saunders & Co. who specializes in rentals, said new apartment units near the west end of University Parkway will be welcome. Having previously worked as a leasing agent at a large apartment complex nearby, she sees the demand.
"In that area, it's going to be nice to have something new," she said.
If the planned apartments are built, they will enter a market in which at least 10 new apartment developments have opened or have been proposed in the past year. Rental rates for University Groves have not been set, but all the other recent projects are charging market-rate rent. Some of the highest rents can be found at the new Venue at Lakewood Ranch, where the most expensive units go for up to $3,000 a month.
The newest apartment entry in the downtown Bradenton market, Riversong, has a somewhat lower entry point, with one-bedroom units renting for $975 and three-bedroom apartments going for about $1,800.
Rents at both complexes exceed the median rental rates for apartments in Manatee County. For a two-bedroom apartment, average rent is about $1,000 per month, according to a report prepared by the Sarasota office of Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT. A one-bedroom apartment goes for an average of about $840. Three-bedroom rents average just over $1,150.
Vacancy statistics also show demand for rental housing. Janet Robinson, Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT's Sarasota commercial director, said vacancy rates have hovered between 2 and 4 percent since 2013.
"There seems to be such a demand for it, especially when it's close to amenities," she said.
Existing complexes in the area include the 286-unit TGM Palm Aire on University Parkway, as well as the Glenbrooke and Summer Cove apartments on Lockwood Ridge Road.
If built, University Groves will bring several standard amenities with it to the market. According to the site plan on file, its six buildings will surround a central common area featuring a swimming pool and clubhouse. The project remains under review. Comments may be submitted by Aug. 26.
The Broadway Avenue area is already host to a number of construction projects. On the western edge of the apartment development, national builder D.R. Horton is building a neighborhood of single family homes. Several commercial projects have also been completed recently to the south along University, including a Culvers restaurant and a Tire Kingdom auto repair/tire shop.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.