Housing Expansion Steps Up Further in South County


Forward-looking home buyers eying opportunities at emerging population centers in Sarasota may very well include South County in their hunting grounds. The list of property developers which have set up stakes in this locality has continued to grow, with the recent entry of Mattamy Homes, a leader in developing master-planned communities in Canada, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports.

This Canadian developer which is also behind several Florida communities, acquired in May of 2014 Thomas Ranch, a property consisting of over 6,000 acres in North Port and an additional 3,650 acres in unincorporated Sarasota County. In March, Mattamy Homes also purchased 3,800 acres in Jacksonville. This developer-homebuilder has already established seven communities in Florida, with a pair each in Orlando and Kissimmee plus one each in Sanford, Windermere, and Winter Spring.

Choices for retirees, market first-timers

Housing Expansion Steps Up Further in South County

The Thomas Ranch site is still largely undeveloped, as its former owners previously farmed and raised cattle in the property. Nonetheless, it is already approved for over 11,000 homes plus commercial development of 3 million square feet. Mattamy’s chief operating officer, Brian Johnston, disclosed that their development plans will probably veer toward a 20–25-year timeframe for 75% of the property, with startup expected in 2016.

What they’re thinking of initially are varying development themes from 700 up to 2,000 homes for retirees and first-time home buyers, according to Johnston, who added that a golf course community and a lake community are two possibilities. A real estate development and investment company in Sarasota, Vanguard Land, will extend high-level strategic planning and direction for the Thomas Ranch project as a minority partner in the property.

Options from the early birds

Several regional and national homebuilders already have a head start on South County property developments. One is the Grand Paradiso project of Lennar Homes and another is the IslandWalk community of DiVosta Homes, both part of a larger development, the West Villages in North Port.

The Gran Paradiso is programmed for manor homes, twin villas, and executive and estate homes at price points from the $100s up to the $500s. Its blueprint calls for a resort-style community with various amenities, including a clubhouse, media center, community pool with cabanas, steam room and spa, tennis courts, playground, and fitness trails.

A good number of choices at IslandWalk are currently featured in the MLS of Sarasota homes for sale. Most of these available properties have asking prices in the $200s, featuring two to three bedrooms in floor areas ranging from about 1,400 square feet to 2,000-plus square feet. Four-bedroom options at IslandWalk have floor plans approaching 2,500 square feet and asking prices in the $400s.

WCI Communities is another homebuilder which has already established presence in South County through its Sarasota National development. Now available here are single family residences and carriage homes priced from the low $200s up to the high $300s.

The lifestyle at Sarasota National revolves around an 18-hole of championship golf course. Other planned amenities include a clubhouse with facilities for dining, tennis, fitness, and swimming. Eight quick-delivery homes are currently available at Sarasota National at a listed price just slightly under the mid-$200s.