Please Show Your Support

Our Lake Flores team will be making a presentation before the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners, tentatively scheduled for August 6th. We would like to demonstrate the public support for the approval of Lake Flores by having as many people as possible send a positive email message to the commissioners prior to the meeting. We would be grateful if you would consider communicating your support by signing our letter. Click to sign our letter

The Nature of the Lake Flores Location
Based on some of the comments made here on and on our Facebook page, we believe there are some misconceptions about the nature of the Lake Flores location, the property itself, and how best to develop it. Hopefully, this post and some aerial images will help to clear up some of these misconceptions. Click to read more…

Lake Flores On Traffic
Lake Flores is a master-planned mixed-use community on 1300 acres. It is an infill property surrounded by development that has been in place for decades, and for fifty plus years this property has been a farm. Over this time, traffic has increased as a result of many factors, such as:

  1. Population growth throughout Manatee County
  2. Delays in needed improvement to existing infrastructure
  3. Increased tourism
  4. Lack of safe alternative modes of transportation to popular destinations

Click to read more…

Lake Flores Submits GDP To Manatee County For Zoning Purposes
Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 1.55.24 PMAs part of the development process, on May 29th, 2014, the Lake Flores development team submitted a General Development Plan (GDP) to Manatee County’s Planning & Zoning Department. The submission was for zoning purposes to ensure our property was in accordance with Manatee County’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan for a mixed use community. Click to read more…

Think Development Drives Growth? Think Again.
A recurring theme in many of the negative responses we get to our vision of Bradenton’s future is that new developments are the reason Bradenton’s population spikes and traffic increases. We feel it is important to point out that this is a common misconception; the fact of the matter is, it’s actually the other way around: it is growth that drives development. Click to read more…

Turning Your Words Into Actions
Our outreach through, Facebook, and in presentations to various community groups is intended to help us better understand the interests of the public regarding our plans to develop our land. What we have learned so far through these efforts is that there is a broad desire for green space – parks, trails, trees – and that traffic is a major concern. Click to read more…

Lake Flores – Honoring Our Past As We Look To The Future
Whiting Preston and his family have named their 1300-acre planned community Lake Flores, to honor the history of the property and its future as a signature landmark.

Whiting Preston explains, “There are many facets to the name that reflect our family’s history and values. From the legacy this land has, to the opportunity it now presents, we are excited to evolve our Lake Flores vision into a great, scenic people place that the entire community can enjoy.” The patriarch of the family, Walter Preston, is a nationally acclaimed floriculturist who created a variety of new flower species on the property. Many of the Gladiolus sold in Florida were grown here. In a bit of irony, the grower of flowers married Flavia Florez (pronounced Flores), which means flower in Spanish.

Building The Future We Believe In
lakeside-walkSince the launch of and our Facebook page in February, more than a thousand people have visited and joined with us in a conversation about the future of our SW Bradenton property with questions, comments and suggestions. Thank you for participating!

Though our engagement with the community is still in its early stages, it is immediately apparent that some in the community believe that any development is inherently bad and should be stopped. Let there be no confusion on this point: we strongly disagree and want to make it clear that we believe the right kind of development is, in fact, the solution to many of the growing pains that are at the root of this “no-growth” sentiment.
Click to read more…

Envisioning A Bright Future For Bradenton
The heartbeat of a community often lies in the special places where people live, work, and play. Great new schools, parks, homes, and retail centers engage a community while attracting new residents and visitors. Regrettably, most of the recent developments of this kind have taken place outside our community.

As stewards of significant agricultural acreage in this area, we want to ensure that the development of our land will bring about a positive change for the benefit of Southwest Bradenton. With Florida roots dating back more than 100 years, the Preston family believes that now is the time to breathe fresh air into this land, bringing to life a new and vibrant section of town that everyone can be proud of and enjoy for many years to come.

Home_Page_CollageThe long-term nature of our ownership and vision, coupled with the size of our landholdings, affords us possibilities far beyond those fundamentally constrained by smaller scales and shorter timelines. For these reasons, we believe the opportunity exists to integrate Bradenton’s best traditions with contemporary urban planning solutions to transform our farm land into parks, trails, restaurants, homes and businesses that will rival the most successful of Florida’s planned communities.
Click to read more…

24 comments on “Please Show Your Support

  1. Marion K.

    Thank you so much for soliciting community input. From what I’ve heard about your family, it seems safe to assume that you will try to do the right thing regarding this valuable land. I beg you to consider being landscaping trailblazers. With water shortages and saltwater intrusion in our future, you could create a community featuring the many beautiful (and practical!) Florida native plants. You could use this opportunity to “change the eye” of the public, and be a leader in sustainability. Marketing people will advise you to use exotics because that’s what people expect, but you could change perceptions, and be credited with designing a community that requires little irrigation, and fertilization (poison for the Bay). You could design a real community for the future.

    The land has been good to you for all these years: please repay the favor and make plans that are good for the future of the land and surrounding waters.


    1. Admin

      Marion, thank you for your thoughtful comments and insight about the proposed Lake Flores community.
      We have employed a highly qualified team of professionals in master planning, urban design, architecture, civil engineering and environmental consulting among others to guide our path forward.
      We concur with your comments concerning the use of native plants and sustainability. We also want to provide a walk-able, safe community with trails and open spaces for people to enjoy.
      While we do not front on water with Lake Flores, we certainly respect both the land and the waters in Manatee County.

    2. Robert J. P.

      Noticed the sign along the road last evening heading home to Glenn Lakes. Delighted to see it and hope your plans mature. They seem much better for the area than IMGs. It was my uncle Amos Kunderd from Goshen, Indiana, who developed glads (ruffled and lacinated) before WWI We were both born in Kendallville, Indiana. His sister Maggie was my Grandmother. It is my wife’s Father, Frank Cavendish, who owned the Rod and Reel Pier on AMI for many years. If I can help in any way I will be happy to do so. I planted my first bulbs in1937. I have a couple copies of “The Home Garden Handbooks Rockwell” one of which was a gift, “with compliments A.E..Kunderd”, printed in 1927. We can only see what the future brings. My brother, Fr. Patrick Patterson, was a missionary in Chile, South America for 30 years. I was surprised when he told me recently that he had glads planted on all sides of his rectory in Valdivia, Southern Chile. Love the name, Lake Flores. Best wishes to all, Bob and Diane.

  2. Clio

    Our state runs on agriculture with out it, we can’t have houses, we can’t feed the people who live there and we can’t support more people. I understand that many people want to see Bradenton grow and develop just remember that there are those (mostly those who have lived here their whole lives) who want our town to stay small and quaint. You speak about practicality, of how it is difficult to run a ‘large’ agricultural operation surrounded by urban areas. Well, it does work, look at Miami only are there diversified operations in city area (not just city farms but livestock production, ie Miami FFA). Furthermore the more people we have the more water we need, we only have so much, we cant just keep piling as much people in one spot as possible because we will run out of water. If we add the 4,000+ homes that is at least 8,000 more people and we cannot support that, there is just not enough water. Not only is water a problem, the addition of that many homes would require many or our roads to be expanded, making it difficult for the community to travel to work, to school to local businesses … Most of our population is 4 or more generations removed from agriculture if we become to far removed from it we will no longer understand it or respect it…. Now even of our roads are widened, bridges heightened, we are a coastal town and have very few options for expansion because we are bound by water, so we expand east the problem being we are still running out of room. Many people keep moving here for the beaches, the weather, we know it all because we live here but everyone wants to go to the beach and there is no room. We complain about traffic now imagine how it would be with a few thousand more cars running around. This brings to the subject of our severe weather, during the summer we know how it can storm almost every day dumping enough water on the earth to where it doesn’t matter if you are in a flood zone or not there is standing water everywhere. That is if we are lucky, we have been very fortunate dodging hurricanes but one day we won’t be and if we sustain a direct hit, the more people in this area the more devastation (though the snowbirds won’t be here but the houses and debris will be) the more development, the more debris the more destruction. Therefore not only is agriculture a valuable industry that would be a shame to lose in our wonderful west Bradenton from a practical standpoint the development cons far outweigh the pros. I understand and respect that this is your property and you are free to do with is as you wish but I implore you to not toss aside the standpoint of those who are loathe to see land that is very much a part of Manatee County’s rich agricultural history be torn up to make way for cookie-cutter developments.

    1. Admin

      Dear Clio,
      Thank you for your comments. We have carefully designed Lake Flores to be consistent with the county’s request in 2010 for mixed-use communities, as well as subsequent studies such as the “How Will We Grow” report and the recommendations from the Urban Land Institute. Experts from both groups agree that our future growth must be carefully planned with an emphasis on smart land use, infrastructure improvements and creating greener, more walkable communities. We are confident that our plans are in keeping with these goals, and we will continue to refine our vision as we work with local officials and residents to create a beautiful community for all to enjoy.

  3. Marlane W.

    Every time I see a neighborhood with the word “ranch” in the name, I cry for the ranch/farmland that is no more. Lake Flores may not have “farm” in it’s title, but it’s still built on the ashes of a business that produced something good. And where will these 6,500 new families expect to take their recreation?? They’ll join the angry crowds expecting to find parking on Anna Maria Island. If our esteemed county commissioners don’t charge Mr. Preston and his development group a HEFTY impact fee — enough to cover multi-tiered beach parking, Lake Flores’ existence will spell death for AMI. How is that a good thing for the county as a whole? Wouldn’t it be better to rehab older established neighborhoods instead of contributing to urban sprawl and elimination of our ever/shrinking green spaces? How many lots still lie vacant in the new development across El Conquistador “Parkway”? “Build it, and they will come” doesn’t always turn out that way.

    1. Admin

      Thank you for sharing your opinion about Lake Flores. It appears from your comments that you oppose our plans for developing a mixed use community. While we understand you may not want further growth in the county, we also recognize it is best to have a plan when growth is sure to occur, particularly in a fast growing, warm weather state like Florida. We believe the plan for Lake Flores is the right plan for many of the same reasons you point out.
      Lake Flores is not urban sprawl. It is in-fill.
      It is in an area of already significant existing infrastructure, such as roads and sidewalks, fire stations and a waste-water treatment facility, as well as schools, commercial and retail businesses. It is designed with newly created recreation in mind and not just more lots on the ground. One of those recreation components is a multipurpose, multimodal trail system throughout the community so people can move about without an automobile. We hope an extension of this system beyond our property line will encourage safer pedestrian and bicycle use to other amenities in the county, including the beaches.

  4. Brain S

    What is needed in advance of this development, which incidentally I support, is a major structural improvement of the road system.

    Cortez Road is a dual highway until it reaches the bridge so what is needed is a bridge that continues the dual highway on to Ann Marie Island, The bridge should also be high level so that it does not have to continually opened to allow boat traffic, eg like the bridge from downtown Sarasota on to St Armands Key. It also might be worth examining an extension of 53rd Street and a complete new bridge being connected to the island as an alternative. A large part of our economy is tourist related and they currently have to queue back past 75th street at peak times if this gets worse the tourist population will seek alternatives as is already happening in Naples where back up traffic is taking people an hour to get to a restaurant.

    Keep developing Bradenton, it is a great place .

  5. Corky T.

    The Preston family have been very community minded for many years and have always considered the impact of their business operations on the surrounding community. I know this development will be no different than that. It will be done in a first class manner and will hopefully help west Bradenton reverse the decline that it has been experiencing for the past decade or so. I fully support the project and encourage others to do likewise for the good of the community. C T 8 27 2014

  6. E.W.

    I have been following this development and all the comments on all the subjects which begs the question to all those saying no one is coming here, the traffic issues from this, the impacts etc. I haven’t seen anyone of you who are making these complaints objecting to all the developers out east.

    Recently there have been 2 projects with close to 1000 homes that will be started ASAP.(not to mention all the ones underway now and forth coming!) Do you not think these people will be coming to the beach?

    The Preston’s and other families who have been here owning and using their properties for decades LONG before 78% of you ever got here. PLUS giving back to local organizations and paying taxes.

    Now theses families are faced with all the protests and complaints because they choose to use their properties for its highest/best use.

    As we (multi-generation natives to Bradenton) have been saying for a long time is………if you don’t like it here then pack your stuff up and move back North.

    Maybe you should focus on the fact they are trying to do the best for the property within the guidelines unlike other developers.

    Thanks to the Preston family for all you have done and continue to do!

  7. Bev

    With the over-crowded roads already a problem in west Bradenton, what will be done to alleviate future traffic problems with this additional growth in this area?

  8. unemployed superintendent

    tomatoes they use brown water for irrigation and have grown gladiolas flowers on the property i have never seen a loaded tomato truck running up 53rd to west coast tomato to be processed and sent to market as a construction manager/ superintendent i would want the work the more the better as there are far less jobs available and i have gone far too long with out work the current administration/gov is not going to do anything for America except make it a third world country ( Build away ) it would be beneficial for many who are unemployed and welcomed by them

  9. Patricia B.

    I would love to see farming continue this part of in Manatee County. We need the jobs and tomatoes. I also believe keeping the waterfront as parkland would improve the plan; however, quite a lot of expensive homes and infrastructure will be built on land that is will be subject to flood and storm damage. A major part of the project should create more public access to natural areas.

    1. Admin

      Patricia, thank you for viewing our web site and taking the time to comment. Continuing to farm the property in a urban setting surrounded by infrastructure including roads, sidewalks, and storm water and waste water lines is simply not practical or productive.
      Our property does not border the water and the land is not in a flood zone.
      While the vision for our plan calls for a great deal of open space that would be available to the public, there is very little if any natural area as the property has been farmed for 50 years.

    2. K.A.J.

      The houses on 86th street west are in a flood zone. Yet, since 1986. the Flores property across the street floods. This proves that zoning is not elevation.

      1. Admin

        Kim, thank you for responding to our web site.
        At this time, all we have done is make our initial application for a zoning change and submitted a General Development Plan to the county.
        Prior to commencing construction, we will submit a storm water plan to the county and water management district for approval.
        In its present condition as a farm, the drainage plan is completely different than the one we will propose for the Lake Flores community.

  10. Jayne K.

    You and your family have always been great stewards of your property and of our community …. I am confident this will continue that legacy. Very excited to see what is to come!

  11. Jack A.

    I am very impressed with the development plans and the way that the process has been handled up to this point.


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