In Focus: New Development Near Bradenton Reservoir


Moved by some environmental concerns and other issues, many residents of Bradenton are keeping close watch on how plans will eventually pan out for the development of some 200 acres next to the Bill Evers Reservoir in east Manatee County. This after the city council early in July 2015 voted to start negotiations with WCI Communities for the development of the property, choosing this Bonita Springs-based company over two other bidders—top national homebuilders D.R. Horton and Taylor Morrison.

Submitting a bid of $10.5 million, WCI Communities is proposing to build 325 to 375 homes in the property south of State Road 70 and east of Lockwood Ridge Road. The homebuilder will pay the city an additional $30,000 per unit if it exceeds the density ultimately agreed upon. The homebuilder, which focuses exclusively on coastal Florida markets, will only bag the deal if it successfully hurdles negotiations on the county planning process.

If the county rejects WCI’s plan or the deal is derailed for any other reason, the city will negotiate with one of the two other bidders. Taylor Morrison submitted the lowest bid at $10 million and proposed a community of over 500 homes.D.R. Horton was the highest bidder at more than $10.6 million and proposed a 530-unit development.

Impact assessed

In Focus: New Development Near Bradenton Reservoir

Overdevelopment of Manatee County and environmental concerns are among the negative feedback on the project being negotiated. Many Bradenton residents have even suggested that the property should be developed as a park instead. City Clerk Carl Callahan countered though that the property is outside city limits and that it won’t benefit Bradenton residents, adding that a large county park is already nearby.

There’s also concern that the new development could harm the city water supply from the 2,400-acre reservoir which is also known as Ward Lake. Nonetheless, Public Works Director Claude Tankersley has allayed such fears, saying the city would no longer expand this water storage facility for future needs, noting that it is an outdated technology and less cost-effective. Tankersley indicated that the city would rather invest in aquifer storage recovery wells which are less costly to maintain. He also expressed belief that the current 1.4-billion gallon capacity of the Ebers Reservoir can meet Bradenton’s projected population growth to 66,000 in the next 40 years.

Boon for nearby communities

On the environmental concerns, City Clerk Callahan noted that the other three sides of the reservoir have already been developed with no adverse impacts. Indeed, what can be emphasized instead are the positive contributions that these well-developed communities have made in turning Bradenton into one of the hotspots for prospective buyers of Manatee-Sarasota homes for sale.

Blessed by the well-preserved natural environment around the reservoir, the residences in the communities around it are among the most coveted and attractively priced properties in the Manatee-Sarasota real estate market. Rarely available, for instance, are homes in River Park at Mote Ranch that basks in nature views and enjoys access to the Braden River which feeds the reservoir.

Recent River Park property deals revolved around sales-listed homes priced in the $400s, featuring three or four bedrooms within floor areas of between 2,500 and 3,400 square feet. Mandalay, Regal Oaks and the new neighborhood of Woodbrook are other nearby communities which could offer choice listings of Manatee homes for sale benefitting from the charms of the Evers Reservoir or Wards Lake.