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East County Monday, Sep. 30, 2019 2 years ago

New information center opens in Lakewood Ranch

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Lakewood Main Street facility opens while two existing information centers on Rangeland and University parkways both will close.
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

Sandy Shahinian, Lakewood Ranch's director of community relations, said the scenario used to repeat itself every day.

Those visiting the community to search for a home would stop at one of Lakewood Ranch's two information centers — at 11506 Rangeland Parkway or 6220 University Parkway — and be informed about the countless possibilities.

But where to start?

"We would tell them to make Main Street their first stop," Shahinian said. "We feel Main Street is the hub. You can get a sense of community here."

Now those visiting the Lakewood Ranch Information Center need only step outside the door to visit Main Street.

Beginning Oct. 1, the information center will be located at 8131 Lakewood Main Street while the other two information centers have been closed.

Laura Cole, vice president of marketing for Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, said the Rangeland building will now be home to the Brain Health Initiative while it contemplates a permanent site for its study. The Brain Health Initiative is expected to begin using the building later this month. She said the University Parkway building will be repurposed but its future has yet to be decided.

The information components from the two closed facilities have been moved to the new 2,200-square-foot center on Lakewood Main. Previously, the space on Lakewood Main was leased by J&J Gallery, which closed in March.

"At the information center, we help customers navigate their home search," Shahinian said. "We tell them what home options are available."

Shahinian said all the information center employees at the closed centers have been transferred to Lakewood Main Street. The staff on Lakewood Main Street consists of six community specialists, one Realtor liaison and three administrative support workers.

"Now our visitors can come meet with us, we can give them the big pictures, and then they can go have lunch," Shahinian said. "Our goal is to offer a personalized experience."

Cole said she loves the new site.

"People what to feel what this community is all about, and this space is perfect," she said.

The information center's popular bus tours of Lakewood Ranch will now leave form the Lakewood Main Street location and the number of tours will increase to two days a week.

"Our bus tours give a full picture of Lakewood Ranch," Shahinian said. "We've been doing them once a week since February and we have been having 20 people a week. We've had to turn people away."

For information or to reserve space on a bus tour, go to lakewoodranch.com.

Sandy Shahinian, Lakewood Ranch's director of community relations, says Lakewood Main Street is a great place for visitors to get a sense of the community.

 

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