Port Manatee Expansion Spurs Palmetto Property Market


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, April, 25, 2013 – The expansion initiatives at Port Manatee on the Gulf Coast of west central Florida augur well for property values around the area, including those residential communities in Palmetto, a few miles south of the port, Sarasota Bay Real Estate said. Values of undeveloped lands around the port should also escalate notches higher and enlarge options in the Bradenton–Sarasota real estate market, the full service realty firm added.

The Manatee County Port Authority (MCPA), Sarasota Bay Real Estate recalled, set in motion a $750-million master plan for Port Manatee in early 2009. The plan calls for continued port expansion efforts for five decades with the immediate focus on the new opportunities which are expected to be created with the scheduled completion of the Panama Canal expansion next year. Notably, Port Manatee, the fourth largest deepwater seaport in Florida and the closest U.S. port to the Canal, handles about 9 million tons of cargo annually. These cargoes range from tropical fruits, vegetables, and forestry products to refined petroleum products, fertilizer, cement, steel, and heavy equipment.

Passenger services mulled

The port master plan is also primarily geared at attracting containerized shipping and its downstream industries. This in turn would create business opportunities for the Port Manatee Encouragement Zone and make productive use of a proposed port connector road to Interstate 75.

Carlos Buqueras, executive director of MCPA, reiterated to members of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance in a forum this past March that the construction of a Port Manatee passenger terminal is also on the horizon for the port’s development. Related possibilities that were raised during the forum included a ferry service, possibly between Port Manatee and Cuba, and cruise ship operations at the port. Both of these features would help the port diversify its operations, Buqueras said, adding that such diversification is envisioned without using taxpayer money.

Nearby residential choices

Cypress Pond Estates in Palmetto is one of the residential communities close to Port Manatee which can draw some benefits should the port further diversify its offerings, SBRE noted. This neighborhood consists of just 78 home sites overlooking ponds, open areas, and nature preserves. Despite its quiet country setting, this quaint front porch community offers proximity to schools and shopping, which is largely provided by its convenient location near Interstate 75. The sales-listed residences here are typically priced around the mid- to high $100s, featuring three bedrooms and two baths in their floor areas of 1,400-plus square feet.

Scaling up the search for a golf community in the area, there are several choices in the Fairways at Imperial Lakewoods, wherein sales of five properties are already pending. Available homes for sale in this community include three- to four-bedroom choices having floor areas of up to 2,900-plus square feet with asking prices ranging from just a shade under the $200s up to close to the mid-$200s, quite competitive compared to alternatives in listings of Bradenton and Sarasota homes for sale.

The residents of this community have a front seat to the offerings of Imperial Lakewoods Golf Club. Besides its affordable championship caliber golf, the club has a wealth of amenities starting from a grass-tee driving range to a practice bunker and chipping areas. It also offers a fully stocked golf shop, dining facilities, and a beverage cart on course. Golf instruction by PGA professionals, as well as banquet and tournament facilities, are also available.