Manatee County Commission Approves Lake Flores Proposal

Whiting Preston is pleased to share that the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners has approved plans for the proposed master-planned community known as Lake Flores. The Lake Flores team appeared before commissioners today to review the plans, answer questions and discuss details of the proposal. The approval was granted unanimously with a 5-0 vote.

“We are obviously very pleased with the decision of the County Commission,” said Preston. “We would like to thank everyone who spoke on behalf of the proposal today, as well as the hundreds of people who have encouraged and supported the plan along the way. This is a great day for the future of Manatee County.”

Preston commended county staff, department heads and team members who were instrumental in developing the Lake Flores proposal. “Today’s presentation was the result of the expert collaboration and hard work of many, many people. The county has been diligent in their work with us and we appreciate their wisdom and professionalism.”

Preston said he intends to move forward quickly and will meet with in-house staff and consultants to plan a timeline for future action. “We will sit down with our land planners and design team and begin to create our architectural standards, review the research on the type of housing that might be popular, locations of greenspace, formulate the infrastructure including creating gathering places near and along the lake. The ideas will quickly become a sought out community for both locals and those moving into the area. Our team will work closely with county staff to ensure that all requirements are met and that we proceed in an efficient and effective manner.”

Lake Flores is a proposed mixed-use development slated to offer a New Urbanism concept with residents living, working and playing in a walkable master-planned community. Located on nearly 1,300 acres stretching from IMG Academy west to 75th Street between Cortez Road and El Conquistador Parkway, the property had been used for agricultural purposes by Manatee Fruit Company for the last 50 years. The Lake Flores community is expected to gradually transform empty fields into a dynamic community with abundant green spaces and a 19-acre manmade lake. When complete, Lake Flores will include as many as 6,500 homes, 3 million square feet of retail and office space, and 500 hotel rooms. Click to read more…

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.

A GDP is not a detailed site plan. Rather it establishes a VISION for the future based on core principles such as balanced growth and sustainability, community preservation and enhancement, environmental stewardship, and quality public services. It is intended to ANTICIPATE a development program and the necessary infrastructure systems (road network, drainage, parks and open space, utilities) that will support the conceptual development. 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…