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East County Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2021 11 months ago

Lakewood Ranch's 3D map earns gold award

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Lakewood Ranch's 3D Community Xplorer Map earns Aurora Award from builders.
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

Rachel Gray, the marketing manager for Lakewood Ranch Communities, had just finished talking about her company's 3D map that earned a gold award for best innovative design when she had to run off to a meeting to discuss how to change it.

Such is life in today's home sales market, where prospective buyers want information in a hurry, and online.

Although Gray and Lakewood Ranch Communities are pleased by the attention generated by their 3D map, they want to continue to offer upgrades that will make it even more user friendly.

The Lakewood Ranch 3D Community Xplorer Map was awarded the gold at the Southeast Building Conference's 42nd annual Aurora Awards. Gray said the map is the centerpiece of Lakewood Ranch Communities' website — www.LakewoodRanch.com. The winners were picked by a panel of designers, planners and builders. Lakewood Ranch Communities hired the Cecilian Partners to design the map.

“We’re setting the standard for how customers will explore communities like Lakewood Ranch in the future,” said Phil Worland, chief strategy officer at Cecilian Partners, in a release.

By calling up the map, a user can see all of Lakewood Ranch's villages, their product types and price ranges. The viewer can check on the villages' relation to shopping, school, parks and other amenities without needed to click to another window.

“Lakewood Ranch was looking for a way to show (prospective buyers) everything the community has to offer, without them having to be at The Ranch in person,” Gray said. “This was something we were searching for pre-pandemic, but the pandemic changed consumer behavior and it became an even more important tool than we could’ve imagined.”

Gray said it was important to offer a map where users wouldn't have to bounce from that page to a Google map. That ability will be enhanced in the future so users can easily check out the region as well as Lakewood Ranch.

"The regional gap was a separate piece that was difficult to navigate.

Considering Lakewood Ranch earned recognition for being the best-selling, master-planned community in the U.S. last week, according to real estate consulting firm RCLCO, the web site is bound to get more visitors.

“Our insistence on innovation to make the home-buying journey as productive and enjoyable as possible has paid dividends in generating home sales,“ said Laura Cole, senior vice president of LWR Communities, in a release. “This week was very rewarding in that our efforts to build a first-class community and to share its benefits through our marketing platform is being recognized and is resonating with a broad audience.”

Gray said the 3D map replaced a "static image" in October. The map already has seen three upgrades. Gray said more are on the way.

"People want to see what's in close proximity to where they will be living. 'Am I living next to a brewery? Are schools nearby?'"

If users don't feel comfortable with the 3D map, the former maps continue to be available.

Analytics have shown Lakewood Ranch Communities the updates have been well received by potential buyers.

"It has been high traffic," Gray said. "If you are not near the ranch, you can see everything you want to see."

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