LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lakewood Ranch's two newest apartment communities have been open less than a year, but already they are averaging occupancy rates between 80 and 90 percent.
Creekside, which opened last September on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard opposite Manatee Technical College is reporting a 92 percent occupancy rate, expected to reach 98 percent by September, according to Pegasus Residential, the community management company.
With 256 one, two and three-bedroom units in several four-story elevated buildings facing a nature preserve and a large community pool, Creekside monthly rents average around $1,125 for a one-bedroom to more than $1,700 for a three-bedroom unit.
Just to the south, across from Lakewood Main Street, the Venue at Lakewood Ranch has filled 80 percent of its 237 apartments and 90 percent are fully leased since it opened last September, according to its property management company, Preferred Apartment Communities. The Venue, which Davis Development Group, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., recently sold to the property manager, attracts renters seeking a more urban feel and walking distance to Main Street and Town Cen
ter. Like Creekside, the community offers one, two and three-bedroom apartments with varied rents starting around $1,009 a month to nearly $3,000 a month, depending on the size and location of the unit in relationship to Main Street.
Though apartment living in Lakewood Ranch has higher rents than its counterparts in Bradenton, the market for multifamily housing in the master-planned community is becoming saturated with people from all walks of life, all ages and different circumstances seeking the convenience of renting rather than owning a home.
Two more established rental communities, also on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, Lost Creek, which has been leasing for three years, and Colonial Grand, the first apartment community to open in Lakewood Ranch 20 years ago, are reporting limited leasing availability.
"We're 98 percent leased as of today," said Lost Creek assistant property manager Kathryn Lear. The complex caters to medical students at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
To the north of State Road 70 in Lakewood Centre a subsidiary of Davis Development, which built the Venue at Lakewood Ranch, is preparing to build a 280-unit complex called Lakewood Davis Apartments, a few miles east of Lorraine Road. The new community will be a blend of two and three-story buildings featuring individual garages and full amenities.
"Nothing vertical has been built yet," underground utilities contractor Mike Forrester, of Harris-McBurney Co., told the Herald on Monday. No time frame for completion was available at press time.
The largest new apartment community by far, which needs final site plan approval by Manatee County, is a 360-unit rental complex on 41 acres northeast of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and 44th Avenue East near Lakewood Ranch Commerce Park and Gullett Elementary School.
Echo Lake Apartments at Lakewood Ranch may start construction as early as the fall, according to Wes Thompson, of Homes by Towne, a local family-owned home builder heading the project.
Kathryn Moschella, East Manatee County reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.