Homes by Towne seeks OK to build six- and seven-story condos by Lake Uihlein off Main Street in Lakewood Ranch

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- A developer has given the county plans to build a 76-unit condominium of up to seven stories on 3.43 acres overlooking Lake Uihlein and Lakewood Main Street.

Waterfront at Main Street is designed as three separate buildings -- two six-story and one seven-story -- in a gated community with 157 spaces for underground and outdoor parking, according to plans submitted to Manatee County Building and Development Services.

Homes by Towne's proposed development met opposition last fall from condominium residents living across Lake Uihlein in WaterCrest, a four-story development, and The Moorings at Edgewater, both part of Community Development District 2 in Lakewood Ranch.

Following a packed public hearing last November, the Board of County Commissions voted to approve Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc.'s request to change its University Lakes Development of Regional Impact to allow construction of a seven-story building in an area zoned for only four stories, paving the way for Homes

by Towne.

Residents voiced concerns about increased traffic congestion on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, the area becoming more urban than suburban, and the possibility approval of a high-rise building would set a precedent.

Homes by Towne spokesman Kyle Hauck said the company expects to begin construction in early fall headed by engineer Stantec Consulting Services of Sarasota. Hauck said there are three, one-level floor plans, starting with two bedrooms and two bathrooms with studies. A penthouse with three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms will also be available.

Prices for Waterfront at Main Street have not been finalized yet, according to Homes by Towne.

"The style is contemporary and the floor plans are open. Each unit has a private balcony and all the buildings will be serviced by two elevators in each building leading to an exterior walkway," Hauck said Tuesday.

Plans submitted to the county also call for a 3,742-square-foot amenity center with a meeting room, catering kitchen, exercise room, pool and spa, outdoor kitchen and grilling area.

The builder has private, gated communities in Country Club East in Lakewood Ranch and GreyHawk Landing north of State Road 64 and Lakewood Ranch.

"I don't have any problems about the height. I just want it to look good. Appearances mean a lot," WaterCrest resident Lawrence Manco said Tuesday.

Manco expressed his objections about the zoning change last fall in a letter to county commissioners.

"Homes by Towne does a fabulous job of landscaping. I fully expect what we see to be very attractive, and better than what we see now -- the back of a movie theater," Connie McKenzie, Manco's neighbor, said Tuesday.

Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.