Category Archives: Lake Flores News

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.

Real Estate Is Leveraging Investments in Active Transportation Infrastructure

Active-Transportation-and-Real-Estate-The-Next-Frontier-1“Infrastructure drives our real estate investments. Investments in highways led to auto-oriented development. Investment in public transit led to development next to transit stops and rail stations. Now we are starting to see trail-oriented development,” commented Edward McMahon, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute as he explained why new real estate projects were springing up alongside urban bike trails.

The trend for new development near active transportation trails and the increased willingness of developers and cities to create communities tailored to those who would rather cycle than drive is the topic of the recently published ULI report titled Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier.

McMahon argued that these active transportation trails and the subsequent associated development were a response to the very real trend of people moving away from using privately owned cars and toward cycling, walking, and using public transit. He highlighted that Americans were driving 8 percent fewer miles than a decade ago and that residents in transit-rich cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., now owned an average of less than one car per household. In addition, in 2014 Americans bought more bicycles (18.1 million) than cars and trucks combined (16.4 million). Not only is bike ownership on the rise, but so are bike-share schemes, which have grown in popularity from only seven in the world in 2002 to 750 globally today, including 70 in the United States.

Roswell Eldridge, chief operating officer of Toole Design Group, highlighted the opportunity for further growth in active transportation, since 43 percent of journeys undertaken in the United States were three miles (5 km) or less. Strong potential demand also exists for trail-oriented development, with 52 percent of Americans wanting to live in a community where they were not reliant on cars for transportation. This trend is being driven by millennials, with 45 percent of this demographic intentionally choosing not to drive and actively seeking out other modes of transportation.

Tadd Miller, chief executive officer of Milhaus, a developer that has built $250 million of developments along trails in Indianapolis alone over the past five years, argues that the trend is here to stay. “Finally at a point with shared mobility, where the financial benefit is there, the infrastructure is catching up and we finally have a demographic and age bracket that is accepting of it.”

– Urban Land Institute, April 2016

Developers Whiting Preston, Richard Bedford discuss reshaping Manatee County, April 19, 2016

“Preston focused on what he considers to be the biggest issue facing his planned development Lake Flores in West Bradenton — traffic. ‘Lake Flores is about an urban plan conceived behind various plans and principals that mitigate traffic trips,’ Preston said. One of the principals includes the use of ‘complete streets.’ Complete streets create a safe street environment for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and transit riders.”

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Lake Flores Receives Outstanding Planning Project Award From Florida Planning and Zoning Association

Lake Flores, a mixed-use residential development proposed for southwest Manatee County, was recently recognized by the Florida Planning and Zoning Association as being as “Outstanding Planning Project.” The award was presented to Whiting Preston by the association’s Gulf Coast Chapter on December 4th at its 2015 Holiday Luncheon in Bradenton, Florida.

“On behalf of the entire Lake Flores team, I’m honored to receive this recognition,” said Preston. “The Lake Flores plan has been many years in the making and has involved the time and expertise of countless individuals. We especially appreciate the staff from the Manatee County Planning Department and the input and advice they contributed throughout this process.”

Lake Flores is planned to offer a New Urbanism concept with residents living, working and playing in a pedestrian-oriented community. A multi-modal trail will connect residential and commercial areas to reduce internal traffic and promote the use of alternative means of transportation. Located on nearly 1,300 acres stretching from IMG Academy west to 86th 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 this area into a bustling community with more than 200 acres of lakes and open spaces. Lake Flores may include as many as 6,500 homes, 3 million square feet of retail and office space, and 500 hotel rooms.

Lake Flores development team begins working on details of plan, August 15, 2015

“For me, it’s important that, not just out east grows, but also West Bradenton, because if we are together in our success, what a county we have,” [Commissioner Vanessa] Baugh said at the Aug. 6 commission meeting. “It is good for all of us. It’s going to improve the quality of life for all of us.”

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