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Waterside breaks ground on new neighborhoods

The Lakewood Ranch community Waterside Place continues to take shape with new neighborhoods.

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It’s a big year for Lakewood Ranch. For one, the master-planned community is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. What’s more, The Ranch has maintained its No. 1 ranking among master-planned communities nationwide for the sixth consecutive year, according to independent real estate consulting firm RCLCO.

“Lakewood Ranch’s stellar performance this past year is a testament to its dynamic market segmentation strategy, superior marketing, appealing lifestyle, great execution and the professionalism of the development team,” said Gregg Logan, managing director at RCLCO, in a statement. 

And, despite higher interest rates, Lakewood Ranch achieved the second-highest sales year in its history in 2023, logging 2,257 sales — a 22% gain over 2022. What is noteworthy is that more than a third of the new homebuyers were already living in Lakewood Ranch or elsewhere in Manatee or Sarasota counties.

“Many of these sales were attributed to renters seeking permanent residency after experiencing limited choices during the pandemic,” says Laura Cole, senior vice president of Lakewood Ranch. “Other local sales came from buyers who experienced a life change, precipitating the desire or need for a new home in our community.”

In just 30 years, Lakewood Ranch has grown to more than 66,000 residents on approximately 33,000 acres. Residents are attracted to The Ranch for its nature parks and recreational programs, top-rated schools, an acclaimed medical center, lively retail and dining spots, a sports campus, the Sarasota Polo Club and three town centers — Main Street, The Green and Waterside Place. 

Some of the newest neighborhoods are being developed around Waterside Place, a 36-acre lakefront town center that features upscale retail and dining, a performing arts and music series, a bustling farmers market and an 8-acre park with nature trails. 

In March, Lakewood Ranch newcomer Dream Finders Homes plans to break ground in Waterside on a project called Bungalow Walk. The development’s “lock and leave” single-family homes are targeted at young professionals and affluent empty nesters, says Joe Sabella, Tampa Division president.

With porches in front of the houses, Dream Finders wants to create a community where neighbors interact with each other and socialize in dog parks and landscaped open areas with benches.

Bungalow Walk is just one of the up-and-coming developments in Waterside. Others currently selling are Avanti by Pulte Homes, Emerald Landing by David Weekley Homes, Shellstone by Homes by Towne, Kingfisher Estates by John Cannon Homes and Wild Blue, which features single-family homes by some of the area’s most acclaimed builders, including Anchor Builders, AR Homes, Lee Wetherington, John Cannon and Stock Luxury Homes. (See summary on page 38.)

With Emerald Landing, David Weekley Homes is stressing easy accessibility to retail, dining and entertainment at Waterside Place. 

“Emerald Landing is convenient to Waterside Place whether residents choose to walk, bike or travel by the soon to come water taxi,” says Jennifer Cole, senior marketing director of David Weekley. 



Monica Roman Gagnier

Monica Roman Gagnier is the arts and entertainment editor of the Observer. Previously, she covered A&E in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the Albuquerque Journal and film for industry trade publications Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

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