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SMR, county partner for Ranch expansion

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  • | 4:00 a.m. September 22, 2010
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Download documents of SMR's plan here.

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch is clearing the way to start work on its first age-targeted community as well as an apartment facility, north of State Road 70.

With the first community in its Lakewood Centre development of regional impact under construction, SMR recently completed a deal with Manatee County that will pave the way for future development in Lakewood Ranch while also benefiting the county’s transportation system.

The Manatee County Board of County Commissioners on Sept. 14 first approved an ordinance to allow developers to use impact fee credits — funds owed to developers by the county for infrastructure improvements beyond what was required — as a means of payment for proportionate share mitigation.

In SMR’s case, the company has agreed to widen Lakewood Ranch Boulevard from two to four lanes from State Road 70 to State Road 64, an estimated cost of about $2 million. It also is waiving its right to use the $17.4 million in impact fees credits it is owed by the county in exchange for meeting concurrency requirements for the first phases of its Lakewood Centre and Northwest Sector DRIs. Together, the projects span from Lakewood Ranch Boulevard to the west and State Road 70 to the south to the 44th Avenue Extension to the north and to just west of Lorraine Road.

The county has deemed SMR’s proportional share for improvements needed to build the first phases of those projects will cost $5.7 million.

SMR’s Vice President of Planning Todd Pokrywa said the deal is a beneficial to both SMR and the county. It gives the county monies to use toward the Fort Hamer Bridge or other infrastructure projects and SMR the concurrency approval it needs to secure financing for development north of State Road 70.

“It provides us that certainty today — even more than in the past,” he said. “(This approval) gives us the opportunity to continue the momentum that’s already started with the evolution of Lakewood Ranch north of (S.R.) 70.”

The Lakewood Centre project, in particular, is slated to be a mixed-use urban center that would bring millions of square feet of office and retail space and more than 3,600 homes to a roughly 700-acre parcel at the corner of SR 70 and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.

The site has long been planned an as eventual hub for retail and office space, as well as workforce and attainable housing.

And with last week’s approval, SMR now can begin planning for the development of an apartment facility — the first project within the Lakewood Centre — as well as Lakewood Ranch’s first age-targeted community.
The age-targeted community, which will join Central Park as part of the Northwest Sector, will be targeted toward empty-nesters and those ages 55 and up, Pokrywa said.

“A lot of communities are just that in Florida, and that’s what they began as,” Pokrywa said. “When we started (Lakewood Ranch), we didn’t want to become just a retirement community. Now, we’ve reached (a certain) maturity, so it makes sense to introduce that concept.”

Despite existing approvals, SMR still will have to take its plans back to the Manatee Board of County Commissioners for site plan approval.

“A lot of things are still in the conceptual planning stages, but we’ll bring those on as the market dictates,” Pokrywa said.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].


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