Business

We knew Lakewood Ranch was growing rapidly. Here’s why it shows no signs of slowing

Marking its 25th year, Lakewood Ranch has been recognized as the No. 2 best-selling master planned community in the United States for 2018, according to RCLCO and John Burns, two independent real estate consulting firms.

Four of the top 10 communities are in Florida, including two in Southwest Florida — the other being West Villages near North Port.

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Lakewood Ranch Main Street has become a destination in the nation’s second best selling master planned community with its events such as Music on Main, restaurants, shops, and cinema. Bradenton Herald file photo

Lakewood Ranch was the third-ranking community in 2017, according to Maryland-based RCLCO, formerly known as Robert Charles Lesser & Co.

Lakewood Ranch recorded 1,479 new home sales in 2018, up from 1,206 in 2017 — a 23 percent increase year-over-year and the best sales year on record for the Ranch.

The 23 percent increase exceeded the average growth of 5 percent on the top-selling list, RCLCO officials said.

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Shoreview is one of the first neighborhoods being developed in Lakewood Ranch’s Waterside village, which is eventually expected to have more than 5,000 homes. Bradenton Herald file photo

Tops on RCLCO’s list was The Villages, an age-restricted community near Ocala, which reported 2,134 home sales in 2018.

Lakewood Ranch has the distinction of being the leading multi-generational community in the United States for the first time, according to RCLCO.

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Country Club East home owner association representatives have approached Lakewood Ranch Town Hall about taking over its operations. Bradenton Herald file photo

“Our lifestyle and amenities are without peer and we have a dynamic and thriving business environment,” Laura Cole, vice president of marketing for LWR Communities, said in a press release.

“These factors attract consumers of all ages and walks of life. Young families, their parents, and grandparents have all found their home in Lakewood Ranch, and this reinforces our very strong extended family dynamic and helps amplify our home sales.”

Lakewood Ranch is kicking off a celebration of its 25th anniversary from 6-9 p.m. Friday at Music on Main, a free concert by indie-folk band Thomas Wynn & The Believers at Lakewood Ranch Main Street.

Offsite parking and a free shuttle service will be provided from Corporate Park, 6901 Professional Parkway East, and B.D. Gullett Elementary School, 12125 44th Ave E.

Lakewood Ranch has been among the top-selling master-planned communities in the country for seven years.

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Solar panels have been installed on the first two of 500 planned single family homes at Polo Run in Lakewood Ranch. Bradenton Herald file photo

While Lakewood Ranch continues to grow to the east and north with new neighborhoods such as Polo Run, Lakewood National Golf and Country Club, Del Webb, Savanna, Woodleaf Hammock, and Arbor Grande, it is also growing to the south, straddling the Manatee and Sarasota county lines.

Waterside, a village located on the southern edge of the The Ranch in Sarasota County, is projected to eventually include 5,000 homes.

Lakewood Ranch’s time near the top of the survey will likely continue for the foreseeable future, RCLCO said.

Lakewood Ranch’s improvement over its 2017 sales is also due to successful market segmentation — the targeting of various age, income and household segments with appropriately priced and designed residential product types and lifestyle amenities, Lakewood Ranch officials said.

Lakewood Ranch offers 19 villages with homes priced from the $180,000s to more than $1 million, nationally recognized sports venues such as the Premier Sports Campus, A-rated schools, nine institutions of higher learning, and the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.

Lakewood Ranch is a major job center, with more than 4 million square feet of commercial real estate in place and entitlements for up to 14 million. The newest is CORE (Collaboration Opportunities for Research); a biotech, research and business-focused campus.

Commercial growth and development are contributors to new home sales as families relocate to pursue career opportunities. The Ranch has more than 1,350 businesses in diverse sectors such as biomedical, technology, insurance and education.

Sales at Lakewood Ranch are coming from throughout Florida, including an influx of buyers from Tampa, Orlando and the east coast, as well as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and the mid-Atlantic. People are also coming in increasing numbers from Georgia and California.

For more information on RCLCO, visit www.rclco.com.

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