LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lakewood Ranch is fast becoming a prime location to lease a new luxury apartment -- but new can spell delays.
The 256-unit Creekside Apartments, which opened its first building last month on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, has had construction delays in readying the second of five, four-story apartment buildings.
The onsite leasing office has been preleasing one-, two- and three-bedroom, urban-style apartments in the second building. Of the 80 available units, 48 were occupied Aug. 1, but other preleasers have been told the rest
of the units will tentatively be available Oct. 1.
Down the boulevard across from Main Street, the luxury Venue at Lakewood Ranch apartment community, a 237-unit development next to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, was originally to open in July.
It is still on schedule, according to Allen Stearns, superintendent for Houston-headquartered TX-Morrow Construction Inc. The first of three buildings now is expected to be ready in early fall.
"We are turning over the building to management the end of September," Stearns said. "There is no pre-leasing typically. Management is hiring now and getting their boots on the ground."
Like Creekside, the Venue will feature four-story buildings with elevators and no garages. But the Venue is located across the street from shopping, restaurants and movies.
At Creekside, Pegasus Residential, the leasing company representing Orlando developer PAC Land Development, said renters need to understand they have no control over construction delays.
"With construction, nothing is ever promised. We explain to future residents there could be delays. We have no control of this," said Frances Rivera, Creekside community manager in charge of leasing. Rivera said recent heavy rains set construction back a few weeks for the apartments, community leasing office, clubhouse and pool.
"When the soil is wet, it's hard to get the equipment back there," Rivera said, who said all preleasers sign a construction addendum, which covers the possibility of delays.
Barb Smith, owner of 2nd Ann Rose Designer Consignment Boutique in Lakewood Ranch's San Marco Plaza, was planning to move into Creekside in mid-September after giving her 60-day notice to the Lost Creek apartments. Now Smith, who contends she never signed a construction addendum with Creekside, says she will have to pay $340 more in rent to stay in her current three-bedroom apartment as a penalty for not moving on time.
"Their sales department is not in sync with the builders," Smith said. "They shouldn't be promising things they can't keep."
Lost Creek leasing consultant, Kathryn Lear, said there's not much they can do since the 60-day notice policy is standard practice.
"We honor that request once a renter gives us their notice to move out," Lear said. "After that, the apartment goes on the market."
Lear pointed out short-term leases in Florida are difficult to find because the state charges a "resort" tax for short-term renting.
Smith said she is hoping to move into her new three-bedroom apartment at Creekside in October.
"I have no place to go after Sept. 30," she said. "If my unit isn't available, I'm out on the street."
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.