Builders’ Interest Mount in Sarasota-Manatee


The choices of newly built homes for sale in Sarasota and Manatee are being exponentially enriched by the rising presence of both regional and national builder-developers as well as Canada-based outfits. Tampa-based Soho Mendoza is the latest entrant to the ranks of such homebuilders as Ronto Group of Naples, Atlanta-based Ashton Woods of Atlanta, and Canadian companies Vandyk and Mattamy Homes, who have put up stakes in the local home market in recent years.

The Tampa builder this June 2015 earned Manatee commissioners’ approval for the preliminary site plan for its proposed Willow Hammock community west of Interstate 75 on the northern flank of Mendoza Road at 37th St. East in Ellenton. This new home development project covers approximately 129 acres, nearly 60% is reserved as open space, a rare feature among residential communities.

Enticing blueprint

Builders’ Interest Mount in Sarasota-Manatee

The county commissioners approved Willow Hammock’s rezoning from general agriculture to planned development residential with a net density of 2.3 homes per acre. Planned lot sizes are set at 40 by 120 feet and 50 by 120 feet, making Willow Hammock good for some 299 residences. Soho Mendoza’s blueprint for this community also include an amenity center with a clubhouse, resort-style pool, playground and nature trails. The developer bought the community’s site for $1.5 million in December 2014.

Willow Hammock’s location is about a mile north of the Ellenton Premium Outlets and some 5.5 miles south of Mandarin Grove, a proposed community by Manatee county-based developer Carlos Beruff. This project, mothballed because of the Great Recession, is now being revived and could soon join the new destinations for searches of Manatee-Sarasota homes for sale. A former orange grove, this property of nearly 96 acres would be covered, as originally proposed, by a community development district funding.

Esplanade at Artisan Lakes, programmed for some 2,800 homes, is a much bigger development near Mandarin Grove and Willow Hammock. A project of national homebuilder Taylor Morrison, this community sits in over 800 acres of land along Moccasin Wallow Road and has been under development since spring 2013.

Fresh market choices

New, move-in ready residences in the Esplanade at Artisan Lakes have been listed in the MLS of Sarasota homes for sale in 2015. Priced in the $300s, these new houses of Tuscan-inspired architectural style were completed in 2014. Their floor areas range from 2,275 square feet up to nearly 3,000 square feet, featuring either two or three bedrooms.

An exciting array of amenities are among the selling points for this Taylor Morrison community. At the Artisan Lakes’ clubhouse, residents have access to a full-service tennis center with qualified tennis pros and lighted courts. Besides bocce ball facilities, the community is also provided with a heated resort-style pool, a pet park and an outdoor barbecue pit. Additionally, a full-time lifestyle director organizes special events for the residents.

Sales of newly built homes has likewise started at Harmony at Lakewood Ranch, a project of Ontario-based Mattamy Homes which regards it as its “first new community in Sarasota.” In May 2015, a newly completed 1,762-square-foot, three-bedroom home in this neighborhood was listed among Sarasota homes for sale at a starting price approaching the $300s.