Homebuilders Make Big Moves in Manatee


Several major developers served notice that the home construction industry in Manatee could be headed toward a banner year in 2015, following their frenetic land banking activities moving into this year’s fourth quarter.

Toward end-August, Neal Communities paid a record of nearly $8.3 million for 111 acres of rural land at the eastern end of 44th Avenue. This purchase was reported as the largest single land deal ever for Neal in Manatee and Sarasota counties. It supplements an earlier 39-acre acquisition for the developer’s planned Indigo community in the master-planned Lakewood Ranch (LWR), one of the hotspots for Sarasota homes for sale.

Northward building spree

Homebuilders Make Big Moves in Manatee

Initially programmed for about 500 homes, Indigo will constitute the northernmost community in LWR. Neal has already started infrastructure work on the 39-acre pasture land it first bought for Indigo.

The LWR-based Neal Communities hopes to start selling in this subdivision early 2015, just in time for the anticipated sell-out of available properties in its Central Park community at the south side of 44th Avenue. As of the year’s third quarter, Neal has 80 available Central Park properties, and it says sales pace is around a dozen homes sold per month. The available residences in this community which are featured in current MLS listings of Sarasota homes for sale are priced from the mid-$200s up to the $600s, with floor areas in the 1,500–4,100-square-foot range.

High-end lot acquisitions

Other developers have also been busy acquiring lots in the neighborhoods around Indigo. In the upscale community of The Links at Rosedale, Bonita Springs-based WCI shelled out $7.39 million in June for the purchase of 93 lots which are located at the western end of 44th Avenue.

Neal Signature Homes is likewise beefing up its inventory of high-end lots in Country Club East. This builder recently acquired six home lots in this community and is set for 20 or more purchases. Cardel Homes, a Riverview-based builder, has also joined the rush in inventory build-up, with a purchase of six Country Club East lots.

AZ, NY builders in the fray

In Palmetto, national homebuilder Taylor Morrison in August 2014 purchased an additional 34 acres near its 800-acre development Esplanade at Artisan Lakes. Located along Moccasin Wallow Road, this new community is programmed for 2,800 homes, and its development began in the spring of last year. The prices of homes in this development start at around the $190,000 level.

Developer activity is likewise heating up south of Bradenton. Peerage Land Co. LLC, a Mill Neck, NY, company, has proposed to develop a heavily wooded tract of nearly 100 acres in this area bordered by 34th Avenue East and 27th Street East. Called the Hundred Acre Wood, this planned community is envisioned for 511 attached single family homes.

Six residential units per acre are planned for 75 acres of this property, while three homes per acre would be zoned for 20 acres. A four-acre light industrial component is also proposed. The developer would be required to allot 25 acres for open space. The bordering neighborhoods of this proposed community include by Oak Haven, Stone Creek, Sugar Ridge, and Greendale Estates.