LAKEWOOD RANCH -- For the past nearly seven years, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge 2855 members have met in a leased space in Creekwood Commons industrial complex at 4908 Lena Road.
But the club's need for more room has resulted in a decision to purchase 8.3 acres at 4602 Lena Road from Creekwood East LLC.
Club members confirmed the purchase but declined to reveal the purchase price until after the transaction has concluded.
"We close on Friday," club member Randy Volkart said
Monday. "Right now we are in a rented space with one big room. The building has served us well, but we have grown in membership from 125 to 500 and we are busting at the seams."
Elks Lodge 2855 hopes to break ground at 4602 Lena Road before the end of 2015 or early 2016 on a new roughly 6,000-square-foot lodge, which would be twice the size of the current rented space, Volkart said.
Cost estimates for the new lodge are not yet been fully compiled, Volkart said.
"We will have a home," said club member Rick Thorson.
As part of its preparation for its land purchase and new lodge construction, later this month Elks Lodge 2855 expects to sell roughly 4 acres and a building that used to house a Sarasota lodge at 3990 N. Lockwood Ridge Road, Thorson said.
"What happened is that the Sarasota lodge closed and membership could join wherever," Volkart said.
When Sarasota Elks closed in 2010, a significant number of members ended up joining the Lakewood Ranch Elks, which added Sarasota to its name, Thorson said.
The Lakewood Ranch Elks have a sales contract on 3990 N. Lockwood Ridge Road, but members declined to disclose figures.
The Sarasota Elks paid $390,000 for the property and building in 2002, according to Sarasota County records
Sarasota County records also indicate the land and building are currently assessed at $862,300, with the land value at $352,300.
Jack's Bingo & More was a tenant at 3990 N. Lockwood Ridge Road and a call there Monday revealed the phone is not in service now.
Elks Lodge 2855 will be able to do more philanthropic activities when the new lodge is built, Thorson said.
Right now, the club feeds 700 underprivileged children every Friday through its Elks Feeding Empty Little Tummies program, Thorson said.
Members pack backpacks with meals so needy kids have food over the weekends, Thorson said.
The Elks Club also gives out more scholarships to graduating high school seniors than any organization other than the U.S. government and the Gates Foundation, Volkart said.
"We also do volunteer work in VA hospitals," Volkart said. "Mostly we do a lot for children."
"I think with our new lodge we will be attracting more members and providing more funds for the community," Thorson said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 . Follow him on Twitter @RichardDymond. Matt M. Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.