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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.
Click to read more…
Traffic and Bradenton’s Future
The county’s roadways have changed over the years, and we are confident that changes will continue to occur in the decades ahead. Traffic is increasing as a result of the county’s growing population and success as a tourism destination. As the county continues to market the islands and their beaches, we will certainly see an increase in tourism, which is necessary to sustain the local economy and jobs market. If properly managed, this can be a positive thing, as compared to other areas that are suffering population declines and falling tourism.
According to the Urban Land Institute (ULI), national trends for new developments reveal a growing demand for communities near active transportation trails, primarily those devoted to walking and bicycling. As people move away from dependency on automobiles, they are moving towards cycling, walking and using public transport. Studies show that Americans are driving few miles, buying more bicycles than cars and trucks combined, and are joining bike-sharing programs in record numbers.
Some experts believe there is a real opportunity for residential developments to tie into the active transportation trend. As the ULI noted, nearly 43% of journeys in the U.S. are less than three miles and 52% of Americans would like to live in a community where they are not reliant on cars for transportation. As communities invest in alternative forms of transportation, development trends will continue to grow in this direction and potentially have significant impact on traffic patterns.
A solution will need to be reached in regard to the aging Cortez Bridge, hopefully one that safely accommodates different modes of transportation like biking and walking and allows for a mass transit lane to reduce car traffic over the bridge. As part of the approval process with Manatee County, we completed a traffic study to predict the potential traffic impact of the proposed Peninsula Bay development. This study revealed that the majority of Peninsula Bay traffic will be headed inland, rather than out to the beach. It is our hope that the county would use some of the tax revenue collected from our development to provide bicycle lanes along Cortez Road.
We are committed to doing our part to help address traffic concerns. As an example, Peninsula Bay will offer alternative modes of transportation such as walking trails, bicycle lanes in the roadways, and boating via the marina. Our community will have amenities such as on-site dining and a kayak launch that will allow residents to pursue recreation within walking distance of their homes. Peninsula Bay looks forward to being part of the conversation and an active partner in promoting innovative solutions.