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Lorraine Road housing project planned to include affordable units

The yellow outline is the proposed site of Lakewood Springs, 299 townhomes with an amenity center.
The yellow outline is the proposed site of Lakewood Springs, 299 townhomes with an amenity center.
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The Windham Development Corporation is proposing its second rental townhome project, Lakewood Springs, along Lorraine Road that will include affordable housing units.

If Lakewood Springs is approved by Manatee County commissioners, the two projects will bring 365 rental townhomes to an area that’s slated to be much more pedestrian-friendly thanks to a $66 million road project.

If all 365 units are approved, 92 of the rentals in the two developments will be set at affordable rates (as determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development) for the next 20 years.    

Windham’s first proposal for 66 townhomes, Lorraine Crossings, was approved by commissioners on April 18. The 10-acre parcel is located to the south of Savanna at Lakewood Ranch, and 17 of the 66 units will be designated as affordable.  

Commissioners haven’t voted on Lakewood Springs yet. The approximately 39-acre property is south of Lorraine Crossings and about a half-mile from 44th Avenue East. 

The proposal for 299 townhomes in Lakewood Springs was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission on June 13 and will go before the commission at the next land use meeting June 20. 

“It’s a great product and a wonderful place to have it,” said Richard Bedford, chair of the Planning Commission. 

If approved by commissioners, 75 of the 299 units in Lakewood Springs will be earmarked as affordable. Affordable units are not subsidized by HUD. 

HUD's involvement is to set the rates for income eligibility and rental and purchase caps. Those rates depend on the county’s average median household income, and that’s where the word, “affordable,” becomes subjective for those looking to rent or purchase in the Lakewood Ranch area. 

The average median income in Manatee County is $97,000.

Manatee County has been offering builders incentives for affordable units through Livable Manatee since 2017, but the program was revamped in 2022 to offer even more incentives. Rowena Young-Gopie, Housing Development Coordinator for Manatee County, said applications increased from that point on and stagnant projects were able to be revived, too. 

If approved, Lakewood Springs would be the third approval this year to include affordable units in East County, joining Amara on Lena Road and Lorraine Crossings. 

Lakewood Ranch Senior Vice President Laura Cole said Lakewood Ranch offers affordable housing in several communities. However, the communities don’t “stigmatize” the homes or homeowners by labeling them as such, nor should they be stigmatized when the price points are “not small.”

Because the lessee can earn between 80% and 120% of the county’s high average income, price points don’t have to be small to stay within HUD’s guidelines. 

“We’re just providing housing for the workforce,” Cole said. “You want to have a diversity of homes and price points. It makes for a better community.”



Lesley Dwyer

Lesley Dwyer is a staff writer for East County and a graduate of the University of South Florida. After earning a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing, she freelanced for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Lesley has lived in the Sarasota area for over 25 years.

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