LAKEWOOD RANCH -- An affiliate of Homes by Towne is planning to build a 360-unit apartment community near Gullett Elementary School -- a now growing housing option for the Lakewood Ranch community.
Echo Lake Apartments at Lakewood Ranch may start construction as early as the fall, according to Homes by Towne spokesman Wes Thompson, who called the affiliate an arrangement between the developer and its condominium builder, Benko Construction Co. Plans submitted to Manatee County in early May show apartments will be built on 41 acres in the northeast quadrant of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and 44th Avenue East, south of Lakewood Ranch Commerce Park and 1,200 feet away from Gullett Elementary School.
Homes by Towne is in the process of closing on the formerly agricultural acreage owned by Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc.
A dozen three-story buildings, including a clubhouse, with 756 parking spaces surrounded by a manmade lake will make up the apartment complex. Each building will have 30 apartments with one, two and three bedrooms, ranging from just more than 700 square feet for a one-bedroom apartment to more than 1,300 square feet for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment.
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"Certain units will have screened balconies and we will offer garages for rent as well as storage facilities," Thompson said. "The exterior will have a coastal influence with some metal roof aspects and the interior of the apartments will all have granite and stainless steel appliances since we have to compete in the marketplace."
Echo Lake's clubhouse will
be home to an onsite leasing office, community gathering area, clubroom, resort-style pool and an outdoor kitchen. The complex could also boast two dog parks, bocce ball courts and a community garden where residents can grow small herbs and flowers.
Rents are expected to be competitive with other Lakewood Ranch apartments, although they have not yet been set.
Homes by Towne has proposed building a road from 44th Avenue east to connect to the apartments. The road, Wood Fern Trail, will eventually be used by future neighbor DiVosta at Lakewood Centre, a 435 single-family community on 179 acres.
Based on a traffic study included with the site plan, one eastbound right-turn lane and one westbound left-turn lane are recommended at the project driveway and Wood Fern Trail.
Those lanes will help with traffic flow during peak hours according to Richard Matthews, Traffic Department manager for Grimail Crawford Inc., consultants who conducted the study.
Homes by Towne plans to build a 76-unit condominium of up to seven stories overlooking Lake Uihlein and Lakewood Main Street. Many residents who live across the lake in Edgewater Village and WaterCrest Condominiums originally opposed the project.
A 280-unit apartment community called Lakewood Davis apartments by the owners of the Venue at Lakewood Ranch near Main Street is well on its way toward development with an expected 2016 opening, and the new Creekside at Lakewood Ranch Apartments on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard across from Manatee Technical College is reporting a 99 percent occupancy following an August opening last year.
Echo Lake Apartments is expected to start leasing by the spring of 2016.
Kathryn Moschella, East Manatee reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.