The Amazing Ranch

The first people to blaze a trail in Lakewood Ranch left hoof prints, Florida cowboys wrangling cattle. Some of that flavor still remains as residents share the same land and walk in those old cowboys’ footsteps.

Lakewood Ranch is not only a master-planned community, it’s also part of the vibrant 30,000-acre Schroeder-Manatee Ranch (SMR), a 100-year-old working ranch and agricultural enterprise. The Uihlein family (pronounced “EE-Line”), founders of the Schlitz Brewery, acquired the ranch from settler John Schroeder in 1922. They expanded and diversified over the decades and today the Ranch features 1,500 head of cattle and four modern day cowboys; some 1,300 acres of citrus groves; 3,500 acres of tomato, vegetable, tree and turf farming; and an aggregate mining operation for shell.

The various operations at Schroeder-Manatee Ranch all work together. For example, the shell mining operation [provides some of the necessary road and construction materials. The old pits left behind then become lakes for fish habitats as well as recreation. Much of the turf for new homes is grown on the property. Since drought is a problem in Florida, SMR Farms works with state Universities to evaluate and grow improved turf and drought-tolerant grasses that will thrive in the parks, golf courses and neighborhoods of Lakewood Ranch.

More than 12,000 people - some 6,000 households - call Lakewood Ranch their new home town. Located just off Interstate 75, this 7,000-acre community falls within both Manatee and Sarasota counties, and yet it is just a 30-minute drive to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Residents live in a world apart, with no need to travel far to find the best of everything - homes, employment, schools, shopping, hospital, doctors’ offices and more. It’s an environmentally friendly, family-focused community that combines a great place to live, work, play, shop and learn, all in a beautiful natural setting.

In Lakewood Ranch you will never feel like a small piece in a large, impersonal puzzle. Every effort has been made to mold this land into a close-knit community that comes with the benefits of a well-planned development. Schools, grocery stores and roads are planned - and build - prior to demand. This makes daily life just that much more pleasant. Water is conserved and landscaping maintained by a web of interconnecting ponds that supply irrigation for all residential and common areas. These are just a few of the benefits that come with calling this place home.

As the developer of Lakewood Ranch, LWR Communities, LLC respects its SMR heritage and continues the tradition of making development fit the land, not the land fit development. All sensitive habitats are mapped before any plans are drawn. After determining these locations, the company does everything possible to design around them and to maintain adequate buffers of native vegetation for protection. The company worked with Sarasota County to preserve nearly 2,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land. Also, LWR Communities, LLC assumed responsibility for maintaining and managing the protected property perpetuity as an environmental asset.

Vast acreage has been set aside for wildlife sanctuary and connected, safe corridors for animals. Many creatures also call the Ranch home. There are deer in abundance as well as river otters, eagles, gopher tortoises, Florida Sandhill cranes and many more. Residents enjoy safe walks and bikes rides along the more than 100 miles of interconnected trails, sidewalks and paths at Lakewood Ranch. There is also a 2110-acre nature preserve, a restored 451-acre wetland preserve and more than 400 acres of man-made lakes.

Every aspect of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch and Lakewood Ranch takes environmental stewardship into consideration. To further the commitment, Lakewood Ranch has gone through the extensive process of earning the Florida Green Building Coalition’s “Green” designation. This means Lakewood Ranch meets high standards for land use, community design and location. Lakewood ranch is one of the first and largest developments in the state to earn this Green Building designation. Green buildings and homes are healthier, conserve resources and cost less to maintain over time through lower utility bills and increased protection from hurricanes, fire and pests.

Welcome to Lakewood Ranch; it’s a community for today that grows from deep roots nourished b y our uncompromising commitment to the decades ahead. It’s in our nature to share our home with real Florida natives - of the finned, furred, and feathered variety. They are as natural as can be and make excellent neighbors. Speaking of neighbors, you will be welcomed into any one of our eight (and growing) villages with open arms. Be prepared to say “hello” over the fence, meet new friends at Town Hall and join one of the many clubs. This is an Amazing Ranch and the perfect place to live, work and play. That’s the true nature of Lakewood Ranch and certainly, the ‘Nature of Florida Living.’