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Parade of Homes the largest since Great Recession

CalAtlantic Homes’ Saratoga model measures 4,500 square feet and is located in the Arbor Grande neighborhood of Lakewood Ranch.
CalAtlantic Homes’ Saratoga model measures 4,500 square feet and is located in the Arbor Grande neighborhood of Lakewood Ranch. jajones1@bradenton.com

The 2017 Parade of Homes ranks as Manatee-Sarasota’s largest since the Great Recession with 129 homes showcased, stretching from Moccasin Wallow Road in the north to Venice in the south, and from Sarasota Bay in the west to Lakewood Ranch in the east.

“We are a mid-sized market competing directly with large markets, and we have one of the largest parades,” said John Mast, chief executive officer of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association.

Last year, the Manatee-Sarasota area showcased 109 homes in the parade. The recent parades are a far cry from 2008, when the parade shrank to only 32 homes.

“People are really taking advantage of being in Florida,” Mast said of the trends he is seeing in this year’s parade, which started Saturday and runs through March 5.

Those trends include an emphasis on outdoor living with outdoor kitchens, pool areas, fire pits, gathering places and more green building.

Matthew Burr, who resides in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, was visiting the Saratoga model at Arbor Grande in Lakewood Ranch, a CalAtlantic Homes product.

“They have a lot of open space, which I like. The clubhouse will be a big attraction, too,” Burr said, sitting in an upstairs sofa in the 4,500-square-foot home at 12010 Perennial Place.

Debra Dunaway, a sales counselor for CalAtlantic Homes, said the 7,000-square-foot amenity center being built for the 300 planned homes in the Arbor Grande community will have an activities director, infinity pool, bocci court and more.

We are a mid-sized market competing directly with large markets, and we have one of the largest parades.

John Mast, chief executive officer of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association

One-third of the acreage at Arbor Grande will be reserved for ponds and parks, underscoring the outdoor living theme. Prices in Arbor Grande start at $328,900.

A little further to the west, just north of State Road 64 and straddling Interstate 75, is Tidewater Preserve.

Maureen Serrano of WCI was showing Tidewater’s Loxahatchee model, a 2,360-square-foot carriage home with a base price of $254,990, a two-car garage and a view of the Manatee River.

“The homes are all maintenance-free,” Serrano said.

A new phase of building recently started on 11 buildings, totaling 44 units, Serrano said.

“This is more of a boating community. There is a freshwater marina where you can keep your boat on a lift,” she said.

Tidewater Preserve is a gated community. The Loxahatchee is located at 1256 Riverscape Street, Bradenton.

Mirabella, located of 75th Street West, bills itself as “just minutes from the beach,” and is one of the closest communities this year to Sarasota Bay.

In addition to the proximity to the beach, Mirabella also touts its high marks for green building and offers to pay the homebuyer’s energy costs for the next 10 years for a featured home purchased during the Parade of Homes.

“We won the Aurora Award as most energy efficient in our category,” Mirabella sales associate Jeffrey Gobuty said.

Koral and Gobuty Development LLC broke ground for Mirabella in 2015 and just opened its first phase of homes.

The Daniela model, 71809 Vista Bella Drive, Bradenton, carries a base price of $293,930 and has 1,524 square feet of space.

Monique Viehman, marketing director for Mirabella, said 90 percent of residents live there year round and have found a real sense of community.

For more information on the Parade of Homes, visit paradeofhomesinfo.com.

James A. Jones Jr.: 941-745-7053, @jajones1

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