+ Lee Wetherington Homes sales double in 2012
In 2012, Lee Wetherington Homes had its best year since 2007.
The Lakewood Ranch-based homebuilder’s sales were up by 50% in 2012 compared to 2011, with sales volume topping $20 million.
“The real-estate market in this area is definitely back and getting stronger every day,” said Peter Mason, vice president of sales and marketing for Lee Wetherington Homes. “We had a tremendous growth year in 2012, adding on new employees and growing our business, and we expect 2013 to be even better.”
Lee Wetherington also saw revenues increase 38% in 2012, and the number of new homes currently in production is up 61%, at 29, compared to 18 in 2011.
“It is now clear that the new home market bottomed out in early 2012, and we can now see a sustained upward trajectory moving forward,” said Bill Hager, Lee Wetherington Homes chief executive officer.
+ Willis A. Smith Construction named construction manager
Willis A. Smith Construction Inc. of Sarasota was named construction manager earlier this month for the Patriot Plaza, at Sarasota National Cemetery.
Patriot Plaza will serve as a ceremonial amphitheater providing shaded seating for visitors to the cemetery.
It will feature commissioned art to honor veterans, which will be donated to the National Cemetery Administration in 2014.
The project is fully-funded by The Patterson Foundation. Construction is scheduled for completion in spring 2014.
+ South Manatee Business Coalition adds board member
Edward Bailey, a community activist and leader, became the newest member of the South Manatee Business Coalition board last month.
Bailey will direct the coalition’s membership committee starting this year.
A Manatee County native, Bailey graduated from Bayshore High School before earning an Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Certification in 1994, at Manatee Technical Institute.
In addition, he attended State College of Florida before joining the United States Marine Corps, in which he served for four years and received the rank of sergeant.
Bailey returned to Bradenton in 1999, to become the operating partner of his parents’ company, Nettie Bailey Realty.
He has also served on and chaired numerous boards, including the Manatee County Headstart Policy Council and the Manatee County NAACP.
Bailey sits on the State College of Florida Board of Trustees.
+ Lee Wetherington Homes breaks ground on new model
Lee Wetherington Homes broke ground on its first new model in the Haddington neighborhood in Country Club East at Lakewood Ranch. The Solivita model features both a one-story and two-story option.
“This concept has been very successful for us,” said Peter Mason, vice president of sales for Lee Wetherington Homes. “We show the two-story version and let people know they can go with just the bottom floor, which changes very little. It’s like showing two homes in one, and building the bigger version helps consumers visualize the difference.”
The one-story Solivita starts at 2,644 square feet, and the two-story can be built with flex options up to about 4,000 square feet.
Lee Wetherington homes built in the Haddington neighborhood will start in the low $400,000s for a 2,500-square-foot home and lot.
Amenities will include three gazebos and a kayak launch.
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Coats for kids
Knights of Columbus Councils are helping children in need by providing coats to children in their communities through the order’s Coats for Kids program.
Santa and his elf made a surprise stop Dec. 13, at WineStyles, in San Marco Plaza, by Harley-Davidson motorcycle, during the store’s weekly Friday night wine-tasting event.
Members and guests of the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club ventured Dec. 4 to Orlando, to view holiday decorations at the Grand Floridian and to have lunch at Downtown Disney.