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LECOM School of Dental Medicine
East County Monday, Jan. 2, 2012 8 years ago

TOP STORY, DEC.: The East County's Most Expensive Projects

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Throughout the holiday week, will be counting down the top 12 stories of 2011 (one from each month) from our Longboat, East County and Sarasota Observers and the Pelican Press. Check back each day for a reprinting — along with any relevant updates — of the biggest news items of the year.


Although the East County was one of the areas hardest hit by the recent economic downturn, the area also has been experiencing one of the strongest comebacks, local officials say.

New communities such as Riva Trace, Woodbrook and Central Park have opened in the last 18 months, with developer Neal Communities reporting its strongest month yet in November for home sales. New businesses have begun to sprout up throughout the area, as well.

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine has begun work on its $52 million dental school campus, and the Manatee County Public School District also has begun construction of a new Manatee Technical Institute campus, at a construction budget of more than $35 million.

Mary Dougherty-Slapp, executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, noted much of the construction activity is occurring in the East County area, specifically.

“The Lakewood Ranch and University Parkway corridor really seems to have made a turnaround compared to the last few years (of activity),” she said. “These projects have a huge impact. When you see construction, you are seeing investment in your community. You have the construction jobs, which, if they are local workers, that has the multiplier effect in the local economy.”

Jacki Dezelski, vice president of East County and Community Development for the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

“There have been several positive signs recently that the economy is starting its recovery,” she said. “Retail sales have been up three months in a row, our unemployment numbers have begun to drop, and the Leading Economic Index experienced another slight up-tick. Confidence can be contagious, so I hope that we continue to hear about the good news happening in the business sector.”

Many projects — big and small — are under way. The following is a compilation of projects that have started within the last year and have building permits exceeding $1 million.

ADDRESS: 5811 Ranch Lake Blvd., Bradenton 
OWNER: Walmart Stores East LP 
PERMIT PULLED: July 4, 2011
PERMIT VALUE: $84 million

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is less than six months away from opening its newest super-center location in the East County.

Spokesman Bill Wertz said the new location at 5811 Ranch Lake Blvd., Bradenton, is expected to open in April 2012 and will bring the area about 250 jobs at that time.

Wal-Mart Stores purchased the 41.4-acre site new near southeast the intersection of State Road 70 and Interstate 75 from Casvak River Club LLC for $11.65 million in late 2008.

The company announced plans to construct a smaller prototype super center — one that does not include a tire and lube center — there in December of that year.

Although Walmart already has locations on State Road 64 and farther west on State Road 70. Wertz said the company believes there is a demand in the area for another location.

“It’s always a question of serving the customers,” Wertz said. “We get input from them all the time.”

The new super center is located within the larger, 245-acre River Club Park of Commerce, which eventually will include 40,000 square feet of shopping center as well as five out parcels for banks and restaurants, as shown in original plans.

ADDRESS: Northeast intersection of Caruso Road and State Road 70 East 
OWNER: School District of Manatee County 
CONTRACTOR: Beck Construction 

The Manatee County Public School District broke ground on its new Manatee Technical Institute campus in the East County, immediately south of Braden River High School, in June.

Jane Dreger, assistant director of construction services for the district, said infrastructure work for the MTI campus actually started in May and is just now nearing completion. Project contractor Beck Construction nearly has finished work on the ground slabs for the building, and tilt wall panels have been erected for about 50% of the building, Dreger said. Contractors will begin work on the roof later this month.

“We’re also working on the new main entrance off of S.R. 70 and the excavation of the retention ponds,” Dreger said.

The building, as designed, is specialized for MTI programs such as culinary, automotive, drafting, welding, automation and electronics and building trades, among others. The space, however, is being built as flexible as possible, so MTI can change its program offerings in the future, if needed.

The total budget for the new MTI campus is $44.3 million, of which $35.77 million is for construction and the remainder is for fixtures, furniture and equipment, Dreger said.

ADDRESS: 11130 Lost Creek Terrace, Bradenton
OWNER: Lost Creek Apartments LLC
CONTRACTOR: Winter Park Construction
PERMIT PULLED: March 21, 2011
PERMIT VALUE: $8.55 million

ADDRESS: 11140 Lost Creek Terrace, Bradenton
OWNER: Lost Creek Apartments LLC
CONTRACTOR: Winter Park Construction
PERMIT PULLED: March 14, 2011
PERMIT VALUE: $1 million

Orlando-based P.A.C. Land Development began construction on a new resort-style apartment complex, Lost Creek Resort at Lakewood Ranch, in March and expects to open its first two apartment buildings and clubhouse by the end of January.

The project’s first phase, which contains about 272 units, is expected to be finished in May, P.A.C. President Tom Cavanaugh said. Total project cost is estimated at $20 million.

“Things are going well,” Cavanaugh said of construction. “People are enthusiastic (about the project).”

Plans for Lost Creek, located on a 20-acre parcel across from Manatee Technical Institute on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, include nine three-story, walk-up-style buildings with breezeways, and amenities for residents such as basketball and tennis courts, a dog park, a pool and more. A later phase is expected to add 230 more units.

Currently, P.A.C. has 28 permits out for construction, of which two are more than $1 million — one for $1 million and the other for $8.55 million, Cavanaugh said.

P.AC. closed on the property, located at 13003 S.R. 70 E., in December 2010 for about $3.46 million.

ADDRESS: 5381 Desoto Road, Sarasota
OWNER: Sarasota Senior Living LLC
CONTRACTOR: Core Construction Inc.
PERMIT PULLED: Jan. 10, 2011
PERMIT VALUE: $8.2 million

Sarasota Senior Living expects to complete work on its $29 million skilled-nursing facility, dubbed Hawthorne Village of Sarasota, in April 2012.

Located near the southeast corner of Desoto Road and Honore Avenue, the two-story, 120-bed center will be turned over to the not-for profit Florida Living Options once completed.

“There’s nothing like it in Florida,” Deborah Franklin, director of operations for Florida Living Options, said of the new facility. “We have a beautiful dementia and Alzheimer’s program. We will have units for that, as well as out-patient rehab and in-patient short-term rehab.”

Hawthorne Village will have 40 private suites and 40 semi-private suites, each with bathrooms, and be comprised of four resident neighborhoods — each with 30 beds in total. The facility also will have a therapy room, fitness center, water therapy, theater and other features, Franklin said.

The project was put a few months behind schedule — with an original target opening for October 2011 — because of construction-related delays, Franklin said.

Developers broke ground on the project in January.

ADDRESS: 4800 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton 
OWNER: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine  
CONTRACTOR: Willis A Smith Construction 
PERMIT PULLED: Oct. 24, 2011 
PERMIT VALUE: $7,229,951

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine broke ground on its new School of Dental Medicine in June, after announcing the project in September 2010.

LECOM Bradenton spokesperson Michael Polin said construction is on schedule for a mid-2012 completion.

“The steel framework (for the building) is complete, and right now, we’re working on the pre-cast exterior stone — the outside of the building,” Polin said. “Everything is on schedule to welcome the first class in July 2012.”

Once finished, the new school, located north of LECOM’s medical and pharmacy school on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, will feature a 7,000-square-foot Learning Resource Center, 23 problem-based learning small group classrooms and a 55-station simulation lab on the first floor. Administration and faculty offices will be housed on the second floor, as will two lecture halls that each will accommodate more than 250 students.

Additionally, a 115-chair dental patient clinic will maximize learning opportunities for students, while allowing students and faculty to treat up to 600 patients from the community daily.

ADDRESS: 7607 Grand Estuary Trail, Bradenton
OWNER: Lennar Homes 
CONTRACTOR: Lennar Homes 
PERMIT PULLED: Feb. 7, 2011 
PERMIT VALUE: $2,381,184

ADDRESS: 8105 Grand Estuary Trail, Bradenton
OWNER: Lennar Homes 
CONTRACTOR: Lennar Homes 
PERMIT PULLED: June 20, 2011
PERMIT VALUE: $1,621,616

Lennar Homes already is busy selling homes in its new Terrace Condominiums project, located within Heritage Harbour’s gated River Strand community.

The developer currently has two permits out for more than $1 million — both for condo buildings on Grand Estuary Trail.

Matt Devereaux, director of sales for Lennar Homes’ Southwest Florida Division, said the building at 7607 Grand Estuary Trail has been completed, with all 30 of the buildings’ units sold. Twenty of 30 units in the 8105 Grand Estuary Trail complex, which received its certificate of occupancy just last week, have been sold, as well.

“(River Strand) is a lifestyle resort community, and the Terrace Condominiums are one of our many projects within River Strand,” Devereaux said, noting about 90 condominium units have been sold this year.

Units range from about 1,200 to 1,400 square feet and start in the mid-$130,000s.

Homebuyers of Terrace Condominiums automatically get access to the 39,000-square-foot River Strand Clubhouse, tennis facilities, golf pro shop, a lap pool and other amenities, Devereaux said.

Lennar Homes plans to break ground on its sixth Terrace Condominiums building in December and anticipates starting construction on two buildings in 2012, Devereaux said.

ADDRESS: 5100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. 
OWNER: Manatee County Family Young Men’s Christian Association 
CONTRACTOR: Manasota Commercial Construction
PERMIT PULLED: July 18, 2011 
PERMIT VALUE: $1.6 million

Just north of the existing Manatee County Lakewood Ranch YMCA building, Manasota Commercial Construction is busy completing work on a new 13,000-square-foot addition to the YMCA campus.

“Things have gone pretty smoothly,” said Scott Morin, executive director for the Lakewood Ranch YMCA branch. “Hopefully, that will be done and ready for use Feb. 1.”

The new building will house a cardio room, yoga and dance studios, free weights and a room for a cycle/spin class.

Contractors also will begin renovating the existing 27,000-square-foot building, which opened in 2003. As part of the renovations, the existing building will gain 6,000 square feet of usable space and will be reconfigured to include a teen center, an aerobic studio, a conference room, a youth center and other amenities.

Renovations to the existing facility should be finished by sometime in May, possibly earlier.

YMCA officials have raised about 65% of their total $2 million budget for the project, Morin said.

ADDRESS: 8027 Cooper Creek Blvd., Bradenton 
OWNER: Dick Road-Blend-All Development 
CONTRACTOR: Benderson Development 
PERMIT PULLED: Nov. 7, 2011
PERMIT VALUE: $1 million

Benderson Development recently broke ground on the final building in its Cooper Creek Office Campus in late November.

The new 23,000-square-foot building will have a design flexible enough to accommodate one or several businesses, depending on tenant requirements, Benderson’s Executive Director of Leasing Mark Chait said.

“We don’t have any specific tenants lined up, but we are about 95% leased in the office campus,” Chait said. “Leasing has been so strong. We see there’s going to be a continued demand for space. We want to be ahead of the cure.”

The shell of the building should be finished in about four months, he said.

Existing tenants in the office park, which is located north of Benderson’s Shoppes at University Center plaza on Cooper Creek Boulevard, include businesses such as ITT Educational Services, Rogan & Associates, Columbia Sportswear and others.

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