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East County Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 2 months ago

Lockwood Ridge housing project approved

Neal Communities plans villas for new neighborhood.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Where commercial development or apartment-style housing once was planned for Lockwood Ridge Road, local homebuilder Neal Communities instead hopes to create a neighborhood of paired villas.

The project, called The Villas at Lockwood Ridge, would feature 84 single-family, paired villas on about 37 acres at the northwest corner of Lockwood Ridge Road and 63rd Avenue East (Honore Avenue to the east). The property is bordered to the north and west by the Barrington Ridge community.

The Manatee County Planning Commission on Jan. 4 recommended approval of the preliminary site plan.

Neal Communities representative Michael Neal said the community would be similar to Neal’s existing project to the south, Villa Amalfi, a 92-villa community. Neal also developed the nearby Mandalay and Woodbrook communities, on the east side of Lockwood Ridge Road.

“We’re really familiar with this submarket,” Michael Neal said. “We believe the project will be successful.”

The site originally was planned for development by Centex Homes, which constructed Barrington Ridge and had approvals at that site location for either 140,000 square feet of commercial space or 224 multifamily units. Neal is purchasing the site  from Manatee Fruit Co., which has owned the site since 1932, according to property records.

The project’s design clusters homes along Lockwood Ridge and preserves a 16-acre wetland without any impacts. The design leaves about 70% open space, including the wetland, for the community.

The Villas at Lockwood Ridge project is proposed to have its primary entrance off 63rd Avenue East with an emergency vehicles-only entrance off Lockwood Ridge.

The project will have a small amenity center.

Representatives of Neal Communities held four community meetings with residents in Barrington Ridge and went door-to-door to talk with neighbors about their plans for The Villas project. No residents attended the meeting to oppose the project.

Manatee County commissioners are expected to hear the proposal at their February land-use meeting. Neal said if approved, it would take about six months to prepare construction documents and then build-out of the community would begin.

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