Central Park home prices start at $126,990

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Central Park at Lakewood Ranch has its grand opening Saturday, and the prices start at $126,990, Pat Neal of Neal Communities announced today.

Those kind of prices have not been seen at Lakewood Ranch since the early 1990s, Neal said of the 380-acre community which is projected to eventually have 800 single-family homes.

Neal announced details of his latest development this morning midway between the first eight models to be constructed at the site and the community's central park, with its splash park, tennis courts, baseball field, gazebo, dog parks and more.

Neal said $36 million has already been invested in Central Park, and acknowledged that some might question his timing considering the lingering recession.

"We think we hit the market perfectly. This is when the people should buy," Neal said.

Neal touted the quality of the homes, the attention to detail, the location, and the price of the homes.

"Our presales have been terrific," he said.

Earlier this week, 1,000 Lakewood Ranch residents were treated to a tour of Central Park, and on Wednesday, more than 250 Realtors were given a tour.

Craig Cerreta, a Realtor with Sotheby's International Realty, said Central Park is the biggest project of its kind not only in Manatee County, but the region as well.

"It is helping Lakewood Ranch, it's helping Manatee County, and it's helping the economy," Cerreta said.

County Commission Gwen Brown had a similar observation.

"It helps the plumber, the grocery store, and banks," Brown said. "If you didn't have development, where would we all live?"

The first eight homes were built by Bruce Williams Homes and Neal Communities. Central Park is located between State Road 64 and State Road 70 off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.