LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Nearly 18 months after a festive groundbreaking that included speeches, politicians and a ceremonial turning of dirt, the new Lodge at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club in Country Club East is just days from being completed by its builder.
Designed by Lakewood Ranch firm Fawley Bryant Architects and built by Willis Smith Construction, also headquartered in Lakewood Ranch, the 29,263-square-foot clubhouse is part of a wider set of improvements taking place across several recreation properties operated by the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club. The clubhouse is a timber-frame structure offering a somewhat informal dining and club experience to Country Club East's golf course.
Overlooking the ninth and 18th holes, the clubhouse is heavily oriented toward outdoor dining. It features nearly 6,000 square feet of outdoor covered spaces, a dining terrace, indoor and outdoor bars and five separate dining areas.
The new structure evolved from a survey sent to country club members about two years ago to find out what they wanted from the club's recreation facilities. A wider scope of work, including an update of existing clubhouse facilities and the club's athletic center, also came from the survey.
Sarah Colandro, Fawley Bryant's director of interior design, said survey results were incorporated into the look and feel of the new clubhouse.
"The Lodge at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club will reflect input from current membership to develop a casual restaurant and bar
atmosphere, while providing unique outdoor amenities that take inspiration from the history and natural setting of Lakewood Ranch," she said.
Described as having a "rustic ranch" style by Fawley Bryant, the clubhouse will be the primary one for members through much of 2016 as the club's older clubhouse at 7220 Arnold Palmer Green is renovated. That property will receive an upgraded dining area and kitchen. A 2,600-square-foot covered terrace also will be added.
The Lodge clubhouse also will serve the needs of the golf course in Country Club East. Inside the new clubhouse is a pro shop, a cart barn, access areas for deliveries and kitchen and staff support spaces. Lisa Barnott, director of marketing for the clubhouse's owner, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, said the clubhouse will open to members in mid April.
Status Update, published Saturdays, is the Herald's weekly look at the progress of construction projects throughout Manatee County.