LAKEWOOD RANCH -- In a $38 million deal signed last week, the nation's second-largest homebuilder, Lennar Corp., bought nearly 1,400 acres from the master developer of Lakewood Ranch.
It is the highest price paid for land in Manatee County this year.
Miami-based Lennar bought the acreage on Dec. 10, according to Manatee County property records. Located largely at the northeast corner of the intersection of State Road 70 and Post Road, the property abuts the Premier Sports Campus. The nearest built neighborhood is Greenbrook Village, which lies to the southwest across S.R. 70.
Lennar plans to build two communities on the 1,392 acres it purchased. According to Tony Chiofalo, an executive vice president and chief financial officer for SMR, approximately 420 homes will be built on the southern portion of the land adjacent to S.R. 70. The remainder of the property will be a golf-oriented community of about 1,550 single-family homes and multi-family
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buildings built around a 36-hole golf course.
The development will be Lennar's second in the 20-year-old master-planned community. Lennar is currently building its Bridgewater subdivision along Lorraine Road.
The sale also marks the easternmost reach of Lakewood Ranch between S.R. 70 and State Road 64 to the north. SMR owns no contiguous land to the east of the Lennar purchase.
Lennar's purchase comes at the end of a year during which several builders have bought into Lakewood Ranch. In October, Pulte Group subsidiary DiVosta Homes purchased 179 acres from SMR for $13 million with the intention of building 435 single-family homes in a subdivision called Mallory Park. Meritage Homes of Scottsdale, Ariz. spent almost the same amount on Dec. 30, 2014, to buy 304 acres of SMR land for a 475-home subdivision.
The deed inked between Lennar and SMR sets a construction limit of 1,999 homes on the new acreage. Construction must start within 30 months, according to the terms of the deed.
The area around the Lennar purchase is already seeing a good deal of construction work.
Pulte Group has begun work on its 1,500-home Del Webb subdivision directly to the south of Lennar's new land.
Lennar and SMR have been crafting the sale for more than a year. The two companies signed a purchase agreement for the land sale in June 2014.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027 or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.