LAKEWOOD RANCH — Perhaps because of its complexity, a deal worked out between Schroeder-Manatee Ranch and Manatee County last week only registered a blip on the local radar.
But this exchange, which took about six months to finally iron out and was two years in the making, has the potential to change the face of East Manatee and create thousands of jobs in the process.
The deal, which involves impact fee credits, allows SMR to put together financial packages to soon begin Lakewood Centre, the proposed name for a 697-acre entertainment, retail and office hub at State Road 70 and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, Todd Pokrywa, SMR’s vice president of planning, said Monday. The project, which has a 20-year build out, is expected to cost in excess of $100 million and would begin in late 2011.
The deal also allows SMR to begin in late 2011 an age-targeted community for those 55 and older in the Northwest Sector, which is a 1,518-acre parcel that from runs from Lakewood Centre’s west border to Lorraine Road and north to 44th Avenue East, Pokrywa said.
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The deal also will make Lakewood Ranch Boulevard four lanes from Center Ice Parkway to Portal Crossing within two years.
“This is a win-win situation,” Donna Hayes, chairwoman of the Manatee County Commission, said Monday. “During this time of economic recovery, the jobs created by this exchange will have a great impact on Manatee County residents.”
SMR felt it needed a deal to feel confident in going forward with these massive projects because of “concurrency,” which means that the level of service expected by the county for roads, schools, sewer and water lines and parks must keep pace with the development, Pokrywa said.
SMR wanted assurance from the county that it could build first phases of both projects without fear of having to stop to let all the roads catch up.
“Lenders like to hear that you have assurance that there won’t be starts and stops,” Pokrywa said.
The county determined that the two huge projects would not trigger concurrency issues for solid waste, storm water, law enforcement, public safety and parks, but would for roads.
The county asked SMR to agree to a number of stipulations.
First, SMR agreed to forego reimbursement from the county for the $17.4 million it spent in 2007 for improvements made on University Parkway and 44th Avenue East.
“In a sense, we ripped up an I.O.U. from the county that we held,” Pokrywa said. “This is a partnership between SMR and the county to create jobs.”
The county plans to use this money for the Fort Hamer bridge project and other road improvements, Hayes said.
Second, the county asked SMR to make “proportionate share contributions” to the roads surrounding its two projects to satisfy transportation concurrency issues during the first two phases.
The county calculated SMR’s proportionate share for the first phases of the two projects at $5.7 million.
SMR agreed to pay $2 million by adding two lanes on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard from Center Ice Parkway to Portal Crossing, then waive the impact fee credits for the two lanes, which will exceed the $5.7 million needed, Pokrywa said.
“We plan to start design immediately and complete construction in 24 months,” Pokrywa said of the widening of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard to four lanes.
“Making Lakewood Ranch Boulevard a four-lane road will have a great impact on the eastern part of the county,” Hayes said. “Lakewood Ranch High School has been waiting for this to happen.”
All together, SMR threw roughly $19 million of either actual cash or impact credits into the deal to get the assurance it wanted, Pokrywa said.
“Imagine going to a lender and asking to borrow money to build something but having to say you are not sure you will be able to finish it,” said Caleb Grimes, SMR’s attorney on the projects. “That’s what we wanted to avoid.”
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.