As Waterside Place takes shape, the true nature of Lakewood Ranch’s next town center is revealed through a mix of strategically placed, vibrant tenants.
Waterside Place is growing up. Literally.
“We’ve completed all of the site work,” says Kirk Boylston, president of Lakewood Ranch Commercial. “We are doing vertical construction on the buildings, so [residents] will see all of the buildings coming out of the ground.”
Construction on the project, which broke ground in October 2018, is scheduled for completion by the end of this year. With tenant buildouts quickly to follow, residents could be enjoying lake views while dining or doing yoga in early 2021.
“We don’t see any delivery date issues at this point,” Boylston says.
In addition to the commercial structures, apartments are also being constructed this year on the development, located south of University Parkway. The 22 townhomes, which are attached to the commercial buildings, will break ground before the end of March.
“Once it is done, we want it to be done,” Boylston says. That includes the 8-acre island park that has street access but also a footbridge. The park will include six sand volleyball courts and a large splash pad area that Boylston says has a lot of really cool features for kids.
“It’s a beautiful setting that you just don’t get anywhere else in the Southeast,” Boylston says.
Located on a 36-acre peninsula of Kingfisher Lake, the unique location promises tenants something that hasn’t been obtainable in the region for quite some time.
“We’ve taken great pains to ensure all of the buildings are either on the water or have views of the water and that everything is oriented in that direction,” Boylston says. “We are getting tenants that are going to enjoy each other as well as enjoy their location. And we are excited about the mix and the quality of tenants we’ve gotten so far.”
In addition to the promise of a unique waterfront location, the Lakewood Ranch Commercial team, which includes LWR Commercial Leasing Agent Tom Johnson, has used a detailed 3D model of the completed town center via virtual reality to draw business and create what Johnson calls a synergistic tenant mix.
“We are focused on tenants that bring a sense of community,” Johnson says. “Something about business owners that are passionate about their business allows for a way of slowing time down and fostering relationships.”
Boylston and Johnson both say they have targeted a mix of local and regional restaurant and service vendors to create that old-school main street feel, a place where everyone wants to support and promote one another’s success. Spoiler alert: It won’t include any national chains.
Johnson, a third-generation Sarasotan who grew up in the retail business and has traveled extensively, compares Waterside Place to other regions around the world where town centers remain the hub of the community for both young and old and will match the multigenerational demographics of the area to offer an aspect for everyone.
Courtenay Smith, co-owner of The Yoga Shack, a yoga studio that will be located on the second floor in Waterside Place, was drawn to the overall mission: a one-stop hub for mental and physical wellness no matter your demographic.
“We have clients as young as early 20s and up into their 70s practicing with us,” Smith says. “Waterside Place will be cool and hip with all amenities in one place.”
Smith also praises its “Zen” water views and spectacular sunsets.
Space for four to five freestanding restaurants on the water with lakeside seating is planned along with a “deconstructed food hall/food truck concept” taking advantage of 500-square-foot freestanding pods placed on the end of buildings.
“We are putting small retailers in those throughout the project, so whether it’s a coffee shop or a donut place or a juice place, we are going to have these scattered throughout,” Boylston says.
With plenty of ways to get to Waterside Place, including ample parking, walkability from outlying neighborhoods and even a water taxi that will take the residents of Lakehouse Cove straight to the Waterside Place marina, accessibility will not be an issue.
“At the end of the day, the goal is to create a consumer experience and relationship,” Johnson says. “Places like this will combat the Amazon effect. We are creating that space where we all want to go when we are not at work or home.”