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.

The Nature of the Lake Flores

Based on some of the comments made here on BradentonsFuture.com 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.
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A New Kind of Development for
Manatee County

Peninsula Bay aims to bring a new kind of development to Manatee County that integrates the beautiful natural habitats of Palma Sola Bay with a relaxed resort community experience. In contrast to some historic patterns, Peninsula Bay will respect the coastline of Palma Sola Bay by conserving the lush mangroves along its shore. The view of the property from the bay will look much like it does today, with a natural frontage that is home to a variety of water species and birds.

Existing wetlands along Cortez Road will also be conserved along with other open space providing the community with a green “front door.” A marina at Peninsula Bay will provide new waterfront dining and boat storage options for the West Manatee community, while a boat ramp is planned to accommodate a water-oriented lifestyle for our neighbors.

The community will be designed for both residents and visitors to have a relaxed vacation experience, with the ability to walk from their homes or condos to food and entertainment options, or for a stroll along a marina boardwalk. Healthy lifestyles will be encouraged by a network of nature trails around a large internal lake that will be perfect for paddle boards and kayaks, with a launch provided to reach the bay waters.

Some key ideas in the plan for Peninsula Bay are:

  • Diversity of Uses: A mix of waterfront marina shops, homes, and condos within the same general area promotes diverse activity and helps to create a relaxed, convenient vacation experience.
  • Sense of Place: Quality architecture and urban design will combine to create a beautiful place at which people love to spend time and to revisit. Beauty, aesthetics, and comfort extend to building style, landscaping and streetscaping elements, as well as the use of open spaces and preserve areas.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: An extensive natural trail network will provide views of the bay and natural conservation areas, as well as kayak and paddle board access to both the bay and lake.

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Mangrove Protection at Peninsula Bay

mangrove-smProtecting the environment is a top priority at Peninsula Bay. An expert team of biologists, engineers, and planners have studied the land thoroughly and developed a program to preserve and protect the property’s naturally occurring mangroves. The mangroves primarily run along Palma Sola Bay and occupy the majority of the wetlands on the Peninsula Bay property. These will be kept in their current condition, while other mangrove depressions along Cortez Road will be enhanced and cleared of non-native vegetation such as Brazilian Peppertrees and Australian Pines.

Additionally, selected areas will receive mangrove plantings. Overall the program will result in more than 81 acres of mangrove habitat preservation, enhancement, and protection. Also of concern are endangered and/or threatened wildlife, known to live in the Palma Sola Bay mangrove habitat – these and other native species will certainly benefit from the permanent protection of the on-site mangroves.