Although the greater Lakewood Ranch area has an inventory of more than 1,000 apartments, that figure will be more than three times higher within the next three years.
Apartment developers have their eyes set on East County to meet market demand. Mike Ryan, a financial analyst for Massachusetts-based Forest Properties, said the Sarasota-Manatee area has shown a need to add about 2,600 rental units a year to keep pace with the increasing population. He said the supply has been about 1,200 per year.
New apartment construction in East County should help the inventory catch up.
Forest Properties is just one of five apartment developers adding inventory to the area. It is building a 247-unit project immediately south of the Walmart on Ranch Lake Boulevard.
“If feels like there is a lot (of apartment development) going on, but when you look at the numbers, we feel like the demand is still there compared to what is being built,” Ryan said.
Ryan said Forest Properties’ yet-to-be-named project will have a mix of unit types, including patio homes and town homes, to offer renters a more single-family home feel. The project will be separate from the existing apartment complex with its own leasing office, pool and fitness center.
Prices will begin at about $1,300 for a one-bedroom apartment.
In Lakewood Ranch, Orlando-based Tavistock Development and Georgia-based Davis Development have projects underway. Tavistock is developing The Green at Lakewood Ranch at the northeast corner of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and State Road 70. Its apartment project, to be called The Residences at The Green, is located immediately north of the new Earth Fare.
Tavistock’s senior vice president of commercial sales, leasing and pre-development, Skipper Peek, said the 300-unit Residences project is fully integrated into The Green with its architecture and walkability to the plaza. The project, which will have amenities such as an infinity pool overlooking a lake, a dog park and wine tasting room, is expected to open in fall 2019.
Peek said the area is prime for rental units, and Tavistock will cater to customers looking for a suburban environment where they can walk to restaurants and retailers.
Peek said on a macro level, young adults are often waiting longer to buy homes, which makes them a target customer, while empty nesters who are tired of maintaining large homes, is another target group.
“Apartments have been in high demand,” he said. “Lakewood Ranch is a fast-growing community. That really reflects the robust growth there and bodes well for apartments.”
Davis Development, which built the 280-unit Luxe apartment complex and the 237-unit The Venue at Lakewood Ranch, has the biggest plans for the overall East County area with approximately 1,600 units planned for the Lakewood Ranch Boulevard corridor between the Manatee River and Fruitville Road.
It purchased a 17-acre tract west of Upper Manatee River Road and just south of Waterlefe Golf and River Club in April from developer Carlos Beruff for $7.68 million. The property is entitled for almost 400 units.
Davis also is underway on two complexes within Waterside at Lakewood Ranch. The first is a 299-unit complex, to be called The Adley, along Interstate 75 and south of University Parkway. The other is the rental apartment component of Waterside’s future downtown center, called Waterside Place. At buildout, the complex at Waterside Place will have up to 900 units and will be built in three phases.
Davis Development’s Gray Schaufler, head of land acquisition in Florida, declined comment.
Benderson Development Co., developer of the University Town Center corridor, also is in the permitting stages for its 262-unit mid-rise apartment building at the southeast corner of Honore Avenue and Desoto Road.
Benderson Development’s Executive Director of Residential Eric Fenton said the project will look and feel more like a condominium project with air-conditioned hallways, two courtyards and 20,000 square feet of indoor amenities.
The shopping and dining opportunities at The Mall at University Town Center and neighboring UTC plazas and access to Nathan Benderson Park will be attractive to renters looking for a downtown feel in a suburban area or for households where one family member works downtown and another works out east.