LAKEWOOD RANCH — Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch announced this week it again will be expanding its amenity offerings.
The company is planning a three-part expansion that includes improvements to and an expansion of the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club’s Athletic Center and Royal Lakes Golf Course.
“It’s another part of the ongoing (effort) to amenitize,” SMR spokesperson Lisa Barnott said, noting recent openings such as Premier Sports Campus and the Ancient Oak Gun Club. “The whole goal is to bring new people to Lakewood Ranch, while keeping the ones who are here happy.”
First on the list of projects is the addition of a doubled-ended driving range and practice area at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club’s Royal Lakes Golf Course; it will be similar to the range at the club’s existing facility.
Those improvements will be followed by the construction of a permanent 10,000- to 12,000-square-foot clubhouse with a golf shop and bar and grill, as well as a paved parking lot. Currently, a doublewide trailer, with a gravel parking lot, serves as a golf shop and clubhouse for the course.
SMR President and CEO Rex Jensen envisions a two-story building that overlooks the greenway and maximizes interaction with the outdoors through the use of patio space and architectural elements.
“Its primary focus will be food and beverage,” Jensen said of the facility, noting a survey of members dictated a more “casual” option than SMR originally had planned for the site.
SMR also is planning to expand its 11,000-square-foot athletic center by about 6,900 square feet to give the facility more space, in general, and for fitness classes.
“We want to expand that building as much as we can on the existing site,” Jensen said, noting a high demand for classes and heavy use of the gym area. “It will be quite a project. We’re pulling the trigger right now (to get started), but we (have to go through design and permitting, still). We’ll do it as rapidly as we can.”
The expansion will include upgrades to lighting and the air-conditioning system, as well as exercise equipment. Pickleball courts will be installed, as well.
Jensen said design work is in process for all three projects, which will be completed as quickly as possible, with construction likely starting in 2014 for all three.
“This is a big deal for us,” Jensen said, noting plans were put on hold when the economy slowed. “It’s time to expand our facilities to accommodate the demand (we have).”
Jensen said he expects the investment for all three projects to be about $5 million, although that figure is only a guess until architectural and other details have been confirmed.
Jensen also noted he hopes the facility improvements will generate new membership — a change that will offset completely or minimize potential increases in dues for country club members, at least for now.
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• Expansion of the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club Athletic Center by 6,900 square feet. Pickleball courts also to be added.
• Addition of a double-ended driving range and practice area at the Royal Lakes Golf Course.
• Construction of a new clubhouse at the Royal Lakes Golf Course. Clubhouse will include a golf shop and casual dining area, as well as a paved parking lot.
• Design, engineering, architectural and permitting for all three improvements to occur in 2013 and 2014.
• Construction of the driving range to occur in 2014.
• Fitness center renovations to begin in 2014 and finish in 2015.
• New clubhouse construction to start in 2014 and finish in 2015.