MANATEE -- New interest seems to be percolating among developers in south Manatee County, north of University Parkway, with the Manatee County Commission Thursday approving three project requests.
During a land-use meeting, commissioners were unanimously in favor of each of the three proposals, which dealt with University Groves, University Groves West and University Village.
The University Groves developer asked the board for amended zoning and preliminary site plan approvals for office and mixed-use areas of the 142.15-acre planned development to accommodate market demand.
"We're asking for the flexibility we need to finish this project," said developer Howard Camp, saying more diverse uses and design flexibility was needed.
The project is north of University Parkway and west of Tuttle Avenue.
Among the proposed uses was a hotel and motor vehicle service, day care center and a residential treatment facility, according to county documents.
Commissioner Robin DiSabatino told Camp the areas already built "look great," adding, "They're really good projects for South county, they'll give us an economic boost."
One member of the audience asked why a hotel was necessary since so many already there suffered from low occupancy.
Commission Chairman Larry Bustle said should a local partnership win the right to stage the 2017 World Rowing Championship, "We definitely need hotels to handle thousands of people that will be coming into our area."
The championship would be held in the fall of 2017 at Sarasota's Nathan Benderson
Park at University Parkway and Interstate 75.
In other action, the board OK'd a preliminary site plan for University Groves West, which calls for 133 lots for single-family detached residences on 48.76 acres.
The project is located about 1,300 feet north of University Parkway, east of U.S. . 301, and west of the University Groves development.
The land is now vacant, except for a pole barn, according to county documents.
It calls for 2.73 dwelling units per acre.
Attorney Caleb Grimes, representing the developer, said the project would share amenities with another development next door called "Soleil."
Amenities will include a clubhouse, pool and a dog run, he said.
University Village, a proposed 51-acre development in an area evolving from agricultural and light industrial to residential, was also approved.
Plans call for 208 single family, semi-detached residences in a gated community on the north side of Tallevast Road, just east of U.S. 301. Carlos Beruff, owner and president of Medallion Home, is the developer. The project is near Kinnan Elementary and a 17-acre site designated for a county park.
The site is now used as grazing land.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.