LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The lure of Lakewood Ranch -- its reputation for well-constructed homes, upscale neighborhoods, a plethora of golf courses, sports activities, and top-rated schools -- is bringing renters to the master-planned community.
Several upscale apartments have recently opened along Lakewood Ranch Boulevard from University Parkway past State Road 70. Apartments are practically filled to capacity at two established rental communities on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, Lost Creek, which has been leasing for nearly three years, and Colonial Grand, which has the distinction of being the first apartments when the community opened almost 20 years ago.
The newest apartments, the Venue at Lakewood
Ranch, which faces busy Main Street and the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, and the more suburban Creekside Apartments, opposite Manatee Technical Institute, are both reporting occupancy rates between 40 and 55 percent in less than a year's time.
Though apartment living in Lakewood Ranch comes at a higher price than its counterparts closer to Bradenton, with monthly rents averaging around $1,125 for a one-bedroom, $1,425 for a two-bedroom, and upwards of $2,000 for a three-bedroom unit, residents from all walks of life and demographics are attracted to the newness of each apartment, modern interior features and appliances, balcony views, the amenities that run the gamut from saltwater pools to business centers, high-speed wi-fi access, and their proximity to the interstate.
"There's a lack of new apartment inventory in Southwest Florida and not as much competition as opposed to other very saturated markets in different areas. We capitalized on getting into this market on an upwards swing," said Jennifer Wetter, community manager of the Venue which opened last September.
With 237 units in three, four-story buildings which are all completed, and only finishing touches left on its pool and resident lounge, the Venue, Wettner says is attractive because of its urban feel and walkability to Main Street and Town Center.
To the north, Creekside Apartments, with 256 units situated in five buildings with elevators, some facing a nature preserve, and the last coming online in the spring, is expecting full occupancy over the course of the summer, according to community manager Dustin Gallion.
"People are moving here looking to buy into Lakewood Ranch and they're renting first to try it out. Students will also be moving here to attend to school," Gallion said.
He added the new Manatee County bus route extension to Lakewood Ranch stopping across the street from the community, will benefit students from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.