LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Canada's largest homebuilder is moving into the neighborhood.
Mattamy Homes purchased about 230 acres of undeveloped land from Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc. last month for $17.1 million and has plans to build 675 residences there, a mix of town homes and single family residences, the company said Thursday.
A subsidiary of Mattamy also took out an $11.4 million mortgage from SMR to finance the purchase, according to court records.
The land is between Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and Pope Road and south of Neal Communities' Central Park neighborhood. The property is approved for up to 700 homes.
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"Lakewood Ranch is one of the most highly desirable and fastest-growing communities in the area, with good schools, excellent community appearance and a good track record for sustained values at the core of its appeal," said Ed Suchora, president of Mattamy's new Tampa division, in a media release. "We're so excited that Mattamy is going to be a big part of it."
This is Mattamy's first foray into the local real estate market. The company has built more than 150 communities in Canada and the United States, including projects in the Jacksonville and Orlando areas, according to its website.
The company said it expects to break ground on roads and servicing in mid-summer, with homes and models opening in the spring of 2015. Amenities planned
for the community include a clubhouse, pool and two large parks with a "tot lot," dog park and walking trails.
"This will be an individual Mattamy master-planned community within the larger Lakewood Ranch development -- totally Mattamy, from raw dirt to complete community, and we're very proud and excited about that opportunity," said Steve Parker, president of Mattamy's U.S. Group, in a release. "Mattamy has a long history of developing large master-planned communities, and we're looking forward to bringing that successful model to life in Sarasota."
The deal is part of a flurry of activity in the area, dubbed Lakewood Center. SMR has plans to add thousands of homes and apartments, more than 1 million square feet of both commercial and office space and a 300-room hotel on 697 acres. Sales have been strong at Neal's Central Park, which is in its final phase and is expected to be sold out by the end of they year. Nearby, Taylor Morrison's Esplanade Golf and Country Club and Lennar's Bridgewater communities are seeking approval to add more than 500 units in the next phases of their communities. And Winter Park-based P.A.C. Land Development is building a 256-unit apartment complex called Creekside along Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, just south of its 272-unit Lost Creek Apartments, built in 2011.
SMR officials have said the increased market demand is creating a "critical mass" to add the planned commercial and office components to Lakewood Centre.
Jason Bartolone, East Manatee Editor, can be reached at 941-745-7011. Follow him on Twitter @JasonBartolone.