LAKEWOOD RANCH — Lou Marinaccio sees a move to new, permanent office as the centerpiece of the dream he had nine years ago for the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.
“My vision for the alliance years ago was to create a cooperative spirit in the community,” Marinaccio said. “Now, we have one place where businesses can feel comfortable to come in and access the goods and services that Lakewood Ranch has to offer.”
In early April, the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance will move into its new office inside of MGA Professional Center, the corporate headquarters of MGA Insurance Group.
For the alliance, which has operated out of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch’s headquarters on Covenant Way since its inception, the move represents prominence and a sense of stability.
A monument along University Parkway, near Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, now lists the alliance as a tenant of MGA Professional Center.
The space is empty now, but soon, the new office for the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance on Enterprise Circle will be an entrepreneurial hub befitting an organization with a growing stature.
Inside, the reception room for the more than 2,000-square foot space will have five workstations — four for alliance employees and one for any of the organization’s members to use.
The main room eventually will have a 50-inch monitor that will flash information about the alliance’s sponsors. Racks in the room will hold brochures of area businesses.
In a separate conference room, the Lakewood Ranch Alliance board of directors and various committees will meet at a table that can seat 26 people.
Large photos of Lakewood Ranch hallmarks, such as Main Street and the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park, will line the walls surrounding the table, and a flat screen television will display PowerPoint presentations.
“We were trying to find a space where price was not as important as location and visibility,” Marinaccio said. “University Parkway is the gateway to Lakewood Ranch. And then, it’s the ability to design a space from scratch to meet future growth.”
When the alliance began planning for its first home to call its own, it naturally had the people in place to make it happen.
Marinaccio and fellow alliance members Ian Black, a real estate professional, and Alan Shaivitz, an interior designer, have led the relocation task force charged with planning and executing the move.
Shaivitz said the task force looked at about 15 spaces throughout Lakewood Ranch before agreeing to lease space in the MGA Professional Center.
Marinaccio closed on the building in November 2012 as the new corporate headquarters for his company, MGA Insurance. He also saw it as an investment to provide office space to others.
Construction for the alliance’s offices began in January and move-in is set for April.
Shaivitz collaborated with Sarasota-based Clifford M. Scholz Architects Inc. to design the interior of the space.
“My first thought when we chose this spot is that we have a lot of extra space to work with,” Shaivitz said. “I thought we could use the space to really show off Lakewood Ranch. The goal is to promote members of the alliance and to promote Lakewood Ranch as a place to do business.”
The space also includes a break room, an office for the yet-to-be-hired executive director and a storage room.
Venice-based JE Charlotte Construction, an alliance member, is the contractor building the space.
Annette Gueli, the alliance’s chairwoman, said the contractors involved with the project, along with alliance members, provided many of the products and services at low or no cost.
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