Esplanade in Lakewood Ranch holds groundbreaking for new amenities center

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- When Kathy and Lance Granquist moved from their New Jersey home almost two weeks ago to the Esplanade, they became the first residents in the 207-acre Taylor Morrison development.

They're surrounded by lots of empty lots, model homes and constant construction but they aren't lonely.

"We're busy buying furniture and babysitting our grandkids," said Kathy Granquist. "We're very happy."

The Granquists' 2,600-square-foot home -- like the others being built -- is designed to emphasize resort-style living, combining the outside amenities of pools and fireplaces with inside luxury like media rooms and spacious kitchens.

Wednesday was the groundbreaking for the Amenity Center, a facility that will include everything from a fitness and aerobics center, grand ballroom, canoe and kayak launch to pickleball and bocce ball courts, lagoon-style pool and dog park.

The center is expected to be finished in the fourth quarter of the year, said Steve Kempton, Taylor Morrison's division president for Southwest Florida.

Amy Vleck has already been named lifestyle director for the development which is priding itself on being the only "active lifestyle community" in Lakewood Ranch.

"We wanted her to become part of the community upfront," Kempton said.

Vleck will be in charge of planning activities for residents and assisting them in organizing events and trips.

"I like to describe it as a summer camp for adults," said Cammie Longenecker, vice president of sales and marketing. "When I say that, people's eyes light up because they remember how much fun that was when they were kids."

The development just east of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and just north of State Road 70 is not age restricted and offers 10 different housing designs for the planned 450 villas and single family homes.

Of the 150 lots in the first phase of development, 47 have been sold, Kempton said.

There are no back-to-back lots and the majority border on man-made waterways.

"We want to capture the resort style living," said Longenecker, who said build-out is expected in five to seven years.

Base prices range from the low $200,000s to the mid-$300,000s and homeowners pay maintenance fees ranging from $318 to $347 a month depending on the size of their homes.

Taylor Morrison also builds in Country Club East at Lakewood Ranch, Old Mill Preserve in Palmetto and Palma Sola Trace in Bradenton.