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More than 500 people had lined up by 7 a.m. in efforts to be first in line to the opening of Earth Fare'  s new store in Seminole in September 2016.
East County Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 1 year ago

Earth Fare anchors CORE project

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Tavistock doesn't wait for CORE project to be established.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

The success of Lakewood Ranch’s master-planned community has made an impact on developers hoping to do business here.

Tavistock Development Co.’s The Green is the latest example.

The Orlando-based developer has confirmed it will build a 40-acre project at the northeast corner of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and State Road 70. A 23,500-square-foot Earth Fare grocery and a not-yet-named fitness center will anchor the project.

Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch officials say Tavistock’s project is the first step in an overall vision for a life science hub it calls CORE, which is short for Collaboration Opportunities for Research and Exploration, at Lakewood Ranch.

Tavistock obviously has faith in SMR’s vision. Kirk Boylston, president of SMR subsidiary Lakewood Ranch Commercial Realty, said typically in projects like CORE, lifestyle and residential components are constructed last, after a project is well established and has enough people and businesses to support it.

However, SMR’s track record of success, along with the faith in its future development, has allowed Tavistock to move forward now.

Boylston said CORE has just begun to come together.

The Green “is really part of CORE,”  he said. “The beauty of the situation is we can do it upfront. A large number of homes have already been constructed, or are under construction north of State Road 70 that are only being served by the Publix center. There’s increasing demand. This is within that service center.”

Tavistock’s project will include 525,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, including 150,000 square feet for more than two dozen businesses — salons, restaurants and other neighborhood-type uses.

The company also will construct 304 luxury apartments, comprising four-story, elevator-serviced buildings.

“We very selectively look for opportunities outside our core holdings,” said Skipper Peek, vice president of commercial sales and development for Tavistock. “If you look at new growth in Lakewood Ranch, the majority of it is happening to the north and the east of the project. We feel like we’re at the epicenter of the project and in a great position to capture that growth.

“We didn’t want to do something that just blended in with everything else in Lakewood Ranch,” he said. “We wanted something that was distinctive and different.”

Peek said Tavistock plans to start construction on the commercial project first, with site work starting this spring and an opening slated for late 2017 or early 2018.

“We’ll break ground on the master infrastructure all at once,” Peek said. “So, it should be relatively seamless in that respect. The residential takes a little bit longer to build, and it’s a little behind in the design process. We plan to start construction on residences in the summer.”

The overall CORE project will house companies in biology, medicine, disease research and advanced medical care.

“It’s a pretty broad scope, so we’re really looking for anything that’s related to enhancing health,” Boylston said. “There are a lot of bio research hubs. We’re just trying to create a smaller version here.”

The project will have amphitheaters, walking pathways and trails, boardwalks over wetlands and other features typical of Lakewood Ranch, but that will separate it from other life science projects nationwide.

Boylston said SMR also hopes to have an educational and housing components to make the project “all encompassing.”

It will have a modern contemporary design that will be incorporated into Tavistock’s project, both in terms of offerings and in architecture.

“We’re really trying to make it as seamless as possible,” Peek said.

Rex Jensen, president and CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, commended Tavistock’s entry into the market and said he hopes it will be just that — a starting point.

“They’re a big deal,” he said. “They’re a very successful development company. Many of the things they have in Lake Nona (in Orlando), I hope they have an application for in Lakewood Ranch.”

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