LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lakewood Ranch's tagline is "live, work, play" and when the new clubhouse opens in Country Club East next year, the "play" component will be even greater, Wayne Piazza, the general manager of Lakewood Ranch Country Club, told the crowd at Wednesday morning's ground-breaking.
"It is certainly going to be a nice playground," Piazza said. The construction will begin within the next couple weeks.
The 27,889 square-foot clubhouse will be built 14 feet above the green with views overlooking the golf course, practice facility and lake. In the clubhouse, there will be a 142-seat dining room, 16-seat main bar, 32-seat interactive kitchen, 16-seat private dining room and 38-seat terrace.
Residents of Country Club East received a membership survey about a year and a half ago asking what they wanted to see in the clubhouse. During Wednesday's ceremony, Ted Robinson, a partner at Private Club Associates, which focuses on golf club management, said a casual food option was the most important item for residents closely followed by golf then fitness. Mike Moser, CEO of Starwood Land Ventures, called the clubhouse "one of the best if not the best that I've seen."
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"The best is yet to come and this is just going to be the start of it," he said.
The completion of the clubhouse is about the lifestyle there, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Chief Executive Officer Rex Jensen said.
"This is going to be a spectacular country club," he said. "Residents of Country Club East, you will be getting the country club lifestyle that you bought."
Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who represents Lakewood Ranch, said she remembers coming out east and seeing nothing but dirt.
"It is going to be wonderful," she said. "We are all going to be back here in a year for the ribbon cutting."
Claire Aronson, University Parkway/Sarasota reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.