LAKEWOOD RANCH — Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch sees the present as an opportune time to diversify the community’s apartment rental offerings.
Its subsidiary, SMR Northwest Land, sold 41.16 acres Aug. 19 to a division of Homes by Towne for $5.94 million. The property, located between Rangeland Parkway and 44th Avenue East, east of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, is entitled for a 360-unit apartment complex, Lakewood Ranch’s largest complex to date.
Combined with Davis Development’s The Luxe apartment project, currently under construction across from the entrance to Greenbrook, it will add 640 rental units to Lakewood Ranch’s existing 1,058 units, once completed.
“We probably won’t start any more apartment projects until these two are completed and until they’ve had some substantial lease-up,” said Kirk Boylston, president of SMR subsidiary Lakewood Ranch Commercial Realty. “Generally, we look at the market at that time and decide when to offer apartments."
Homes by Towne plans to break ground on the project, called Echo Lake Apartments, in the fall. It will feature 12 three-level walk-up style buildings, each with 30 units. One-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from about 700 to 1,300 square feet will be available.
“The market demand continues to be there,” Homes by Towne spokesman Wes Thompson said of why the company is pursuing apartment housing. “It’s equidistant to State Road 64 and 70. It’s near lots of shopping and the LECOM medical school.”
The complex’s design will be unique, with apartment buildings lining a central lake. A large open area to the north will allow for more amenities, including two dog parks and a community herb garden. The complex also will have a swimming pool, outdoor grills, a fitness center and a bocce ball court.
Thompson said Homes by Towne had an apartment division years ago that is now ramping back up. This is the company's first apartment complex in the Southwest Florida market. Homes by Towne is the developer of Watercrest condominiums, around Lake Uihlein, and also is working to develop an 80-unit condominium project behind Lakewood Ranch Cinemas on Lakewood Ranch Main Street.
SMR already has started construction on a connector road that will service the apartment project. It will run north from Rangleland Parkway and connect back to Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.
Boylston said SMR is working on some apartment projects in Sarasota County, in relation to its Villages of Lakewood Ranch South project, but those plans are still in preliminary stages.
Business Observer Research Editor Sean Roth contributed to this report.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].