More Economic Rewards Seen from Port Manatee


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, November 22nd, 2013 – The recent completion of a project to boost the capacity of Port Manatee to serve container ships stands to bring a wide-ranging economic lift in Southwest Florida, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports. The full service realty firm adds that the new real estate developments and residential communities near this shipping center are among those which could immediately benefit from the multiplier effect of this development.

A total of $13 million from federal, state and the Port Manatee Authority funds were spent for this project initiated to meet the growing demand for container shipping in the Tampa Bay region. This initiative involved the construction of a new berth and the development of an adjacent container yard which are scheduled for inauguration this October.

Tailwinds from Panama Canal, Cuba

Increased port traffic on big container ships can be expected in the coming years. Sarasota Bay Real Estate notes that the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal is set for completion in 2015, ushering in the entry of a new generation of bigger ships. Notably, Florida’s other major commercial shipping hub in the southeast, Port Miami, is also girding to accommodate these larger vessels.

Besides handling commercial shipping vessels, the Port Manatee Authority is also keen on developing passenger cruise ship services to Cuba. The port’s executive director, Carlos Buqueras, disclosed this plan in earlier meetings this year with local business leaders who too have expressed interest in Cuban trade and tourism opportunities. Significantly, charter flights to Cuba from eight U.S. airports, including Tampa and Miami, are already authorized since 2011.

Port Manatee now has over five years in serving containers ships, opening its berths to cargo ship carriers in 2007. The port also has a strategic alliance with the Panama Canal Authority dating back to 2009. The Manatee shipping facility generates annually over $2.3 billion economic contribution locally, in addition to supporting more than 24,000 jobs.

Palmetto homebuilding picks up

New Home

The economic tailwinds brought about by the growth of activity in the port must’ve been one of the factors which inspired both local and national homebuilders to push developments around its area. Neal Communities, for instance, in August opened Sugar Mill Lakes, its newest community in Palmetto only less than 20 minutes drive south of Port Manatee. The community’s location is near I-275 northward to St. Petersburg as well as close to I-75 southward to Sarasota.

Sugar Mills Lakes residences fall in the range of affordable Sarasota homes for sale with their starting prices set at the high $100s and floor plans from 1,569  to 2,233 square feet. Besides a recreation center and expansive lake views, the community’s amenities include a tennis court and a children’s playground.

National homebuilder Taylor Morrison also recently laid the groundwork for its popular Esplanade brand in Palmetto through a new project at Artisan Lakes. The Scottsdale, AZ-based builder will offer choices of single-family and multi-family homes in this neighborhood located in an 800-acre site near I-75 and US 41.   Esplanade at Artisan Lakes has sister communities based in Lakewood Ranch, Siesta Key, and Naples.