LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL (March 31, 2016) – As a harbinger to thousands of rooftops destined to dot former ranchland, a new building welcomes homebuyers and the curious to Lakewood Ranch.
Inside the Rangeland Lakewood Ranch Information Center, just north of the Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and State Road 70 intersection, community specialists called "ambassadors" match potential buyers with about 50 model homes offered by 17 builders. Prices range from the $200,000s to about $5 million.
Nine ambassadors rotate between the newly opened Rangeland building, which replaces the center at Summerfield Park, and one on University Parkway. A third sales center is in the private Lake Club.
"Ambassadors work with future homebuyers here and share Lakewood Ranch's story," said Laura Cole, vice president of marketing for Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, during an opening ceremony Tuesday for the 2,300-square-foot building.
In its 21st year, Lakewood Ranch has 9,500 households, with plans to grow to 32,000 homes.
John Clarke, now retired, was the second Schroeder-Manatee CEO after Mary Fran Carroll to lead the transformation from a working ranch to a master-planned community.
"John said what was going to happen, and I said, 'OK,'" said Mike Kennedy, an engineer with Stantec who served as the Community Development Districts' engineer for 20 years, admitting it was hard to visualize at the time. "What you see is John, Mary Fran and Rex (Jensen, current CEO), really following through."
With ranch land south of S.R. 70 and north of University Parkway now built out, Schroeder-Manatee is forging ahead with plans to develop the Sarasota County property south of University Parkway and the northern property between S.R. 70 and S.R. 64.
The neighborhoods of Mallory Park, Savanna and Lakewood National Golf Club are in the planning and design stages north of S.R. 70.
Visitors to the new center can see those projects highlighted on wall-size maps that show all of the community's neighborhoods They can also pick up maps and brochures, watch a slide show, and find out more about amenities, including the Ancient Oak Gun Club, Premier Sports Campus and Sarasota Polo Club.
"The ambience here will step you through all phases of development taking place now and show you all the assets Lakewood Ranch has to offer," Tony Llambes, director of property and project management, said.
The new information center replaces the former Summerfield Information Center, 6310 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Officials have not yet announced plans for the building, which also houses the offices of the Lakewood Ranch Community Activities Corp.
About Lakewood Ranch
The largest green-certified community in the US, Lakewood Ranch occupies 8,500 acres convenient to Sarasota and the Tampa Bay region. The master-planned community includes four golf courses, a country club and extensive recreational amenities, with housing options ranging from maintenance-free condos, single-family homes and estate-size properties. New home and lot packages begin in the high $100,000s to over $5 million.