First buyers in Waterside are banking on their dream.
Early in 2016, Brandi and John Joyner heard rumblings about a lakefront, walkable community coming to Lakewood Ranch.
It was Waterside, a 5,500-acre project that would have 5,144 homes surrounding seven large lakes at buildout, and a downtown core called Waterside Place with waterfront restaurants, shops and a community park. It also would be the future home of the Players Centre for Performing Arts.
Waterside would be part of Lakewood Ranch, but in Sarasota County.
The project had their attention.
“We would scour the internet for information,” Brandi Joyner said.
They didn’t find much information at first, but they sold their home in Greenbrook anyway. They knew, on a hunch, it would be their perfect forever home.
“We wanted to be ready whenever something happened in Waterside,” Brandi Joyner said.
The Joyners have become one of the first families to purchase in the new community — and that’s without even seeing a model of the home they are buying in Homes by Towne’s LakeHouse Cove at Waterside. That project, when complete, will have about 391 single-family and multifamily homes centered around a lake with direct water access to Waterside Place, an amenity center with an event lawn, clubhouse, pool, fitness center and other lifestyle options and programs.
Their house is not under construction yet, but it should be within a few months. Three Homes by Towne models should open in January and another two in February.
“We are so excited for all that is in store for this one-of-a-kind community,” John Joyner said. “It is a perfect location for us since it is close to all of our favorite parks, shopping centers and restaurants.”
John Vitolo and his wife, Hallie, had the same vision. They sold their home in Country Club East and are living in the Venue apartments, across from Main Street at Lakewood Ranch, while they wait for their home to be constructed in Pulte’s Shoreview project.
Shoreview was the first Waterside development to open for sales, in July, and will feature 246 single-family homes around two lake and resort-style amenities.
Construction of the Vitolo’s home started in September and it’s supposed to be finished in December or January.
“The last thing we needed to do was to move again,” John Vitolo said with chuckle, adding their home in Waterside will be their third in Lakewood Ranch since first moving there in 2011.
They couldn’t resist. The couple lived in Edgewater before moving to West Chester, Pa., for about two years, until they moved back to Lakewood Ranch in mid-2015. While in Pennsylvania, they enjoyed an urban lifestyle, walking to restaurants and activities.
Plus, Hallie grew up on a lake in New York, so the idea of waterfront living made Waterside a perfect fit.
“We loved that lifestyle,” John Vitolo said. “When we had the prospect to live on the lake and walk to stuff, we had to do it.”
The Vitolos are excited to have a dock behind their future home, and that they can bicycle over to Waterside Place for dining, activities or a show at the theater. They had enjoyed similar activities when they lived in Edgewater and would visit Main Street at Lakewood Ranch.
“We’re going on faith that this is going to be even bigger than our Lakewood Ranch Main Street experience, which we enjoyed quite a bit,” said John Vitolo. “Just being able to keep the car in the garage and walk everywhere is going to be great.”
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.