Big Builders Duke It Out in East Manatee


The big guns of the U.S. homebuilding industry are continuing to strengthen their presence in Southwest Florida, a trend which started a few years back with the onset of the housing recovery. This development, definitely a plus in the market with the broader choices made available to prospective buyers of Sarasota homes for sale, now appears zeroing in on potentially lucrative turfs in East Manatee.

Early in July 2015, the third largest U.S. homebuilder, Lennar Corp., bought lots in Savannah at Lakewood Ranch (LWR) from another national housing giant, Meritage Homes, for $3.6 million. The latter purchased Savannah’s 304-acre site from LWR master developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch in December 2014 for $13.2 million and sold roughly a third of it for a profit to its competitor, Lennar.

Lesser density development

Big Builders Duke It Out in East Manatee

The approval for Savannah’s location, which is at the northwest corner of State Road 64 and Lorraine Road, is good for up to 913 homes. Meritage, however, chose to develop it for just 475 home sites, 150 of which were sold to Lennar.

The Scottsdale, Arizona-based Meritage, ranked no. 11th among the top U.S. builders, expects to start listing Savannah residences among Manatee-Sarasota homes for sale sometime in the 2015 fourth quarter. Their floor-plan designs will be in the 2,000–5,000-square-foot range and their starting prices at between $280,000 and $480,000. A gated community, Savannah will have an entrance each at SR 64 and Lorraine Road.

New Homes at Serenity Creek

This project joins Meritage’s other developments in East Manatee. In the 2014 third quarter, sales began at this builder’s 38-lot Raven Crest community on Upper Manatee River Road. This summer 2015, Meritage started wooing aspiring buyers of Manatee-Sarasota homes for sale at the 111-home Serenity Creek also off SR 64 and just a short distance west of the Savannah development.

Notably, this builder’s Ashwood home model at Serenity Creek copped the best in architectural detail, floor plan and kitchen in its category in the 2015 Manatee-Sarasota Parade of Homes. Designed as a two-story residence, this model features five bedrooms and five baths and has a price quote in the upper $500s.

Bets from top U.S. builder

Both Meritage and Lennar are in a very competitive East Manatee territory. At the Upper Manatee Road north of SR 64, the nation’s top homebuilder, D.R. Horton has started selling in its 665-acre Del Tierra development, the first venture for its Express Homes Tampa-Sarasota division. The company lists eleven models for this community, with floor plans between 1,800 and 3,600 square feet at starting prices in the $200s and the $300s.

Stoneledge, another D.R. Horton community, is located south of SR 64 at 47th Avenue Circle East. This enclave has 57 home sites and offers six energy-efficient residential designs of between 1,800 and 3,600 square feet, featuring either one or two stories and two-car garages.

Another development under way in this East Manatee area include the 114 acres that Standard Pacific Homes, ranked tenth among national builders, is reported to be developing along Pope Road. Additionally, prominent regional builder Neal Communities has unwrapped in this area the new gated Indigo neighborhood on the eastern end of 44th Avenue East and the Eagle Trace community south of SR 64.