Growth in and around Parrish is getting big. Really big. As in, really, really big

There are a ton of new houses coming to the North River area, with Parrish at the epicenter of a projected 25,000 new homes.

Along with all those houses, there is also plenty of retail and office space planned, approximately 5 million square feet.

During a recent county-funded visioning session, Parrish residents said they wanted more retail and dining choices in their community.

While the lack of a sewer in parts of the historic heart of the village makes that difficult now, plenty of new shopping is coming to nearby areas, where a census count would yield more cows than people.

Planned south of Parrish are Shops at Harrison Ranch, proposed for 300,000 square feet of nonresidential development at 4605 Harrison Ranch Blvd., and Creekside Commons, approved for 285,000 square feet of retail at the intersection of Erie Road and U.S. 301.

The two projects are about three miles apart on U.S. 301.

Benderson Development was moving forward with site preparation work for Creekside Commons in 2017, but halted work after the proposed anchor, Walmart, either pulled out or put the brakes on the project.

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Gateway Common Shopping Center, located at Interstate 75 and Moccasin Wallow Road, is the first of several retail centers planned for the growing area. A Publix supermarket will anchor the new center. James A. Jones Jr.

Neither Benderson nor Walmart would comment on the project.

More recently, H.C. Properties LLC of Myakka City sought approval of a modified site plan for the Shops at Harrison Ranch project. In filings with Manatee County, John Falkner, one of the largest property owners in Manatee County, is listed as owner of the 30-acre site.

Shops at Harrison Ranch previously was approved for 170,000 square feet of nonresidential use. Under the modified site plan submitted by H.C. Properties LLC, the nonresidential uses would be increased to 300,000 square feet.

“This specific approval will allow for a retail building utilized principally by a single tenant to exceed 75,000 square feet outside of the retail office residential or mixed use future land use categories of the comprehensive plan,” according to documents filed on behalf of the developer.

The proposed tenant for Shops at Harrison Ranch has not been identified.

Even more retail development is planned north of Parrish, primarily along Moccasin Wallow Road. The area north of Palmetto, including Parrish, is sometimes referred to North River, where the construction of more than 25,000 homes has been approved.

“It is overwhelming how much is happening. The handwriting was on the wall for the developers to move in. We had hoped to get ahead of it,” said Gretchen Fowler, president of the Parrish Civic Association.

“It will be nice to have access to everything, but all the growth will bog down the center of the village. The developers are responsible for their projects, but there is no real plan to pull it all together from what I can see.”

On average, about 2,000 new homes get built each year in Manatee County, according to county planning official John Osborne. About 60 percent of those are in the Lakewood Ranch area, and about 40 percent are in the North River area.

A big difference is that a single developer, Schroeder Manatee Ranch, masterminded Lakewood Ranch, while a smorgasbord of developers has divvied up the Parrish area.

While Parrish residents want more access to nearby retail, they also want to preserve as much of the character of the historic village as possible.

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The American flag was flying from the roof of the Barbara A. Harvey Elementary School this week in Parrish. The school, under construction off Moccasin Wallow Road, is scheduled to open in August to help meet the needs of the growing North River area. James A. Jones Jr.

In the recent county visioning session, Parrish residents ranked sidewalks, civic spaces, and cultural and social activities among their top priorities.

Other large retail and commercial developments previously reported by the Bradenton Herald:

  • Parrish Lakes, planned on 1,155 acres south of Moccasin Wallow Road and north of Erie Road, would bring 3,300 residential units and 450,000 square feet of retail and office space to the area. Although development schedules are always subject to change, the first phase is tentatively projected to be completed in 2026 and the second phase in 2036.
  • Robinson Gateway project is planned on 288 acres just west of Parrish Lakes. Proposed are 900,000-square-feet of retail space, and 600,000 square feet of office space.
  • Gateway Commons, located just east of Interstate 75 and south of Moccasin Wallow Road, is planned for 139,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. The first building in the shopping center, a Publix supermarket, is under construction.
  • Morgan’s Glen, located on 138 acres off Moccasin Wallow Road, is planned for 175,000 square feet of commercial space and 380 homes. John Neal, president of Neal Land Ventures, said no “big-box” development is envisioned for the shopping center, but would include grocery, day care and other similar neighborhood businesses. Morgan’s Glen would be connected to other neighborhoods in North River Ranch development by roads, bike lanes, and trails.
  • Fort Hamer Commons at 12059 U.S. 301 and 5751 Fort Hamer Road is planned for 97,650 square feet of retail and commercial space. It is the closest project to downtown Parrish, but residents who have experienced disappointments before by projects that failed to deliver are taking a wait-and-see approach.
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The developer of Shops at Harrison Ranch, 4605 Harrison Ranch Blvd., is seeking approvals to build 300,000-square-feet of nonresidential space south of the village of Parrish. James A. Jones Jr.