New Lakewood Ranch community will host an open house for its "crown jewel" Feb. 10.
When Steve Bishop and his wife, Joann, became the first residents of Del Webb Lakewood Ranch in May of 2016, they knew eventually they would be enjoying life by the side of a resort-style pool.
They just didn't know when.
For the Bishops, the time has arrived.
On Jan. 29, the Pulte Group's Del Webb opened its 27,000-square-foot clubhouse.
"We used to pay $2,000 to spend a week at a resort pool like this," Steve Bishop said of the new clubhouse pool area. "This is like a resort, and we live here."
On Feb. 10, the public can see the crown jewel where the Bishops, and approximately 200 home owners, live. The 55-plus adult community will host the grand opening of its new clubhouse facility, at 6915 Del Webb Blvd., from 1-3 p.m. and will offer live music, refreshments and tours.
A full-time activities director has been hired to man the clubhouse, which features meeting and card rooms, a state of the art workout facility, dining room for 350 people, a resort-style pool area and tennis, bocce and pickleball courts. A restaurant adjacent to the pool will open in March.
When built out, Del Webb will hold 1,300 single-family homes and villas with floor plans from 1,372 square feet to more than 2,600 square feet. Prices range from $257,990 to more than $500,000. The community is built on 17,500 acres.
"We are ecstatic about the clubhouse," Steve Bishop said. "We all expected it would be nice, but for me, it exceeded what I thought it would be. We didn't think it would be this awesome."
Before the Bishops settled on Del Webb Lakewood Ranch, they spent time at five other Del Webb communities on the west coast of Florida. "The clubhouse here is the nicest of all the ones we've looked at," he said. "I'm a retired policeman and I exercise every day."
Carissa Anderson, the general sales manager for the Southwest Florida Market for the Pulte Group, said the clubhouse was overbuilt to accommodate 3,000 people.
Charlene and Chris Moretto were in the gym, working with the weights. They moved to Lakewood Ranch from a Del Webb in Ocala. "The facilities are nicer here," Charlene said.
Anderson said the opening of the clubhouse is a huge milestone for the community. "The residents have been patiently waiting," she said. "They expect world class amenities and a full lifestyle program."
She said sales have been swift before the clubhouse opening but should be even busier now.
"People love to feel and touch," she said. "This will create an urgency."