Andrew Basco stepped out of his truck and onto a site with two houses under construction, each with bare concrete walls and partially tiled roofs.
Walking to the back of one, he pointed to wooden stakes planted in the lake behind it. They mark where a dock will go.
“This is what we want people to see,” said Basco, a sales associate for builder Pulte Group Inc.
The scene is the basis for the entire Shoreview project. Pulte will build 246 single-family homes around the banks of two lakes, totaling 143 acres.
It’s the first project coming to fruition in Schroeder-Manatee Ranch’s Waterside at Lakewood Ranch, a 5,144-home, 5,500-acre development in Sarasota County set around a series of seven large lakes left over from SMR’s aggregate mining operations.
The Waterside project generally runs from Interstate 75 to east of Lorraine Road and between University Parkway and Fruitville Road. It is located south of the Sarasota Polo Club and the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park.
SMR officials envision a walkable, gate-free community with a waterfront downtown district (Waterside Place) anchored by The Players Centre for Performing Arts, a community park and rides along some lakes via water taxis.
Pulte Group has two models under construction, and home sales start in less than a month.
“People who are interested can schedule appointments the week of June 1,” Basco said. “We already have six on June 1. They’re going to bring a $10,000 check, choose their home site and go to contract within a week.”
Pricing for homes has not been finalized yet, but it will be by the time the sales center and models open July 1, Basco said.
Builder Homes by Towne is close behind with its neighboring Lakehouse Cove at Waterside project immediately east of the Pulte project. The community, when finished, will have 391 units, including some that are for-sale, multifamily products, although those details have not been finalized.
Construction of The Lakehouse Cove models is expected to start sometime in June, if not earlier, with models opening in December.
Homes by Towne will have five models, and builders Arthur Rutenberg Homes and Lee Wetherington Homes, which will purchase lots from Homes by Towne, each will have two models in Lakehouse Cove.
“It’s going wonderfully,” said Richard Bedford, vice president of planning for SMR, of Waterside’s development. “It’s our first project in Sarasota County. It’s been a long time coming. We’re pretty excited about it.”
Sales inquiries indicate the public is excited, as well.
Basco said he has seen strong interest. Kitt Kearney, Homes by Towne’s vice president of sales and marketing, agrees.
Online inquiries have generated five to seven leads per day, compared with the norm, which is five to seven in a week for a community that is not yet open.
“We have over 700 leads right now in our database for people who have expressed interest,” Basco said. “This is a very high-profile project. You just don’t see these lakes around here. It’s a great opportunity.”
Kearney also was beaming with optimism.
“With over 1,000 acres of lakes, there is a compelling combination of striking natural scenery, location and accessibility at Waterside. People really seem to love the overall concept of lake living and Waterside Place’s proposed water taxi transportation system,” she said.