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UTC continues expansion with more large-scale projects

Benderson Development asks Manatee County to approve changes to Cooper Creek DRI.

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  • | 8:20 a.m. December 20, 2017
  • East County
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Benderson Development is thinking long term for its University Town Center projects along the north side of University Parkway.

Todd Mathes, Benderson’s director of development, said construction is expected to begin in the spring on a 40,000-square-foot space for a national sports retailer — the identity of which is yet to be released.

It will be located between the Nordstrom Rack and the Hampton Inn & Suites Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch, in The Shoppes at UTC plaza at the northeast corner of Cattlemen Road and University Parkway.

The 40,000-square-foot space is just part of a larger request being considered by Manatee County.

Benderson’s requests include an additional 135,000 square feet of commercial space (951,200 total) added to the existing development plan with most of that square footage being added to existing buildings. It also would include an extra 200,000 square feet of office or school use (378,700 total); 150 additional hotel rooms (400 total); and 250 residential units (1,017 total).

Mathes said Benderson sees the proposed changes to its existing Cooper Creek Development of Regional Impact would provide more options as the project develops over the next five years. The area generally is located in the northwest quadrant of Interstate 75 and University Parkway, east of Honore Avenue.

“It’s a special project for us,” Mathes said. “We take great pride in it. Our commitment is always to make that project a special place and keep it what it has become.”

On the retail side, Benderson anticipates construction of the 40,000-square-foot space, as well as another stand-alone building of about 10,000 square feet in front of LA Fitness at a later date. Much of the remaining square footage will be reserved for build-outs of existing spaces, giving tenants options to add room for more retail or storage at their existing locations.

The request for more hotel rooms will serve for potential expansions of Benderson’s two hotels on the north side of University, the Hampton Inn & Suites and Courtyard by Marriott. Mathes said the Hampton Inn would be first, for they are seeing a need for larger suites.

As for residential development, there already are 693 single-family and multifamily homes constructed, including those in what are now Carolina Landings, University Place and Savannah Preserve. The additional units would go toward housing on a piece of land south of Savannah Preserve and north of Home Depot.


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