Author Archives: Palmetto Companies

Lake Flores Land Sold To IMG Academy

We recently sold 19 acres of our Lakes Flores property to IMG, a portion of which will be used for a new hotel with the rest slated for athletic fields and related structures. This hotel will be independently operated, featuring meeting space, pool, and restaurant – all open to the public. The Lake Flores development plan, as approved by Manatee County, allows for up to 500 hotel rooms at completion.

In a 2014 Bradenton’s Future post we wrote, “We feel strongly that the opportunity Lake Flores presents is one of economic and social revitalization and prosperity for the immediate area, and will ultimately benefit everyone in Manatee County.” Though it is still too early to forecast an opening date for this hotel, we are nevertheless excited to see this new business moving forward, bringing to fruition Lake Flores’ promise of further economic and social benefits for SW Bradenton and beyond.

Cortez Bridge “Breaking” News

The Cortez Bridge broke, again, about a week ago. Anyone trying to get on or off Anna Maria Island was stuck for about two hours. This is hardly newsworthy, but does call for an update on FDOT plans to address the need for improvement.

Estimates are that it could still be many years before construction begins, but as far as what is actually constructed, the FDOT appears focused on two options, both aimed at reducing traffic backups. One would be a higher, 35 ft. drawbridge requiring less frequent openings; the other would be a 65 ft. fixed span bridge.

Many in the area feel the fixed span option will clash with the character of Cortez, even if it does offer the most traffic-friendly solution. The 35 ft. bascule option would be the next best option for traffic, allowing a wider range of boats passage compared to the current 19 ft. span. Fixing or rebuilding the current bridge, while officially still in the mix, seems unpractical and highly unlikely.

Persons interested in having a say in the process can keep up with developments at the FDOT’s website, The study is scheduled to be completed this summer and a public hearing should be announced soon.

Peninsula Bay Plan Brings Traffic Solutions

Over the past 30 plus years, the Preston family has a long history of providing for West Bradenton traffic improvement projects as the community grew. There is a road-widening project right now (53 Ave) that is an example of this involvement. There are many others to cite, i.e. El Conquistador Parkway, 75th Street west, Cortez Road, and others.

beach ridersThe tourism industry for Manatee County is a billion dollar plus industry that supports many businesses and families in our community. The beaches just happen to be the number one attraction for many Bradenton area visitors and residents. There are 2 bridges that are over 50 years old and lead to that amenity which have sustained the growth of the community. Those bridges are obsolete and need replacement as the draw bridges contribute to traffic congestion by opening frequently during the busy season. We spend millions of dollars pumping sand on the beach to accommodate more people and millions of dollars promoting the area as a vacation destination all over the world.

water taxiEven though the lion’s share of the traffic estimated in the future will not be Peninsula Bay’s traffic, the development will make positive contributions to the transportation network in the following ways:

  1. Access to the water, and therefore, an alternative mode in the form of water transportation to the beach and surrounding recreational opportunities.
  2. A resort destination atmosphere with waterfront hospitality and dining attractions, which are presently only available on Anna Maria Island. Providing these alternative destinations has the potential of capturing traffic for the area before it goes to the beach.
  3. New roads providing better and safer ingress and egress for residents already living adjacent to Peninsula Bay.
  4. Traffic impact fees generated by the project will be spent in the vicinity of the development. Understand that impact fees paid in east county cannot be spent in west county.
  5. Additional roadway improvements may be required for final site plan approval to meet concurrency and/or operational safety.

Additionally, the County and the Lake Flores development have conceived of a park and ride concept to get people to the island via mass transit and are continuing to meet to make this happen.

bicycles on trailExtending a multi model trail system to the beach has also been discussed as a possible way for the immediate area to mitigate traffic within the Cortez vicinity and, when the Cortez bridge is rebuilt, should connect Cortez to the beach with a quick transportation option that is not easily available to those living farther away.

Furthermore, the Local Development Agreement (LDA) between Manatee County and Manatee Fruit Company in 2011 will provide the assurance that both the Lake Flores and Peninsula Bay developments will contribute the to the County roadway network by improving the system. This agreement represents the foresight that was conceived, many years ago, for the eventual development of these properties consistent with the County’s comprehensive plan.

Lastly, but of significant importance, our market research firm, Robert Charles Lesser and Company, (RCLCO), completed an economic analysis for both Lake Flores and Peninsula Bay. Both projects combined would provide ad valorem taxes to the county and school board in excess of $15 million every year after complete build out. The Lake Flores and Peninsula Bay projects not only pay for themselves in terms of county services, but they provide a significant surplus each and every year – dollars that can be directed to further infrastructure improvements.

Peninsula Bay – A Smart Project

Bradenton Herald Editorial, July 23, 2016

“Growth is coming to Manatee County as population forecasts show, and traffic will remain a hot-button issue. Infill development is a high priority of the county. The Peninsula Bay property is destined to be developed. Preston’s proposal reflect smart and sensitive development, the best the county could hope for.”

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Peninsula Bay Announces Planning Commission Approval

We are pleased to announce that Peninsula Bay has received its first stamp of approval from the Manatee County Planning Commission. Our development team presented to the planning commission on July 14th and received a 5-1 vote to recommend approval for the general development plan and the rezoning request. We will make a similar presentation to the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners on September 1st.

“We are happy to have earned a vote of confidence from the planning commission,” said Whiting Preston. “We believe our vision for Peninsula Bay will be a tremendous benefit to the area, especially in terms of jobs, housing options and tax revenues. Our tagline has been ‘connecting people to the water’ and we are passionate about that. We are also dedicated to protecting and enhancing the local ecosystem and to reflecting the style and spirit of Cortez. We look forward to continuing with our plans in the months to come.”

Developer continues push for huge development near Cortez waterfront

By Rick Adams, July 13, 2016

“It’s going to make the property values go up,” said Volker. “They’re going to put up a marina at the end of the street, this way people won’t use the private boat ramp that we use right up the street and it’s just going to be good for everybody.”

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Peninsula Bay receives first OK, goes to county commission for approval

By Claire Aronson, July 14, 2016

“The traffic problems wouldn’t be because of Peninsula Bay, said Caleb Grimes, an attorney who represents the applicant. Without a development like this, we won’t generate the impact fees and monies and funds necessary to start fixing all those kids of roads.”

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