The master developer of the Sarasota, Fla., planned community is moving forward with improvements to the Lakewood Ranch Country Club Athletic Center and Royal Lakes Golf Course. The $5 million enhancements will include a new 12,000-sq. ft. clubhouse, a driving range with a pro shop and bar and grill, new pickleball courts, and upgrades to lighting and HVAC systems.
The master developer of Lakewood Ranch has announced plans for a multimillion-dollar expansion to the planned community’s flagship golf and country club, the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune reported.
Fanned by a recent uptick in new home sales, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc. (SMR) intends to move forward with improvements to the Lakewood Ranch Country Club Athletic Center and Royal Lakes Golf Course in Sarasota, Fla., the developer said.
The enhancements will include a new 12,000-sq. ft. clubhouse and a driving range at the Royal Lakes Golf Course that will contain a golf pro shop and a bar and grill. The clubhouse’s parking lot will also be paved, the Herald-Tribune reported.
The clubhouse now consists of a temporary building with a shell parking area. The existing 11,000-sq. ft. fitness center at the Athletic Center will also be expanded by nearly 7,000 sq. ft., with upgrades to lighting and HVAC systems. Pickleball courts will also be added, the Herald-Tribune reported.
The expansion, estimated at more than $5 million, is slated to begin later this year, with an estimated completion in 2015. Dozens of new jobs are expected to be created as a result of the expansion plan, the developer said.
The expansion is being spurred by rising home sales in Lakewood Ranch, because more home buyers there are joining area country clubs, SMR said. In Lakewood Ranch, builders have sold 381 new homes in 2013 through the end of July, an 8.5 percent increase from the same time period in 2012, the Herald-Tribune reported.
“Everything is a function of the market,” said Jimmy Stewart, vice president of sales for LWR Communities, the residential arm of SMR. “We have always had this on our radar, we just needed our sales pace to turn around a little bit to support our future infrastructure, and that’s exactly what has happened.”
There are now about 1,000 country club members and another 700 members in the athletic club, up from previous years. Those memberships range in price from $38,000 in deposits and $7,000 in annual dues for year-round golf access, to $1,200 for an athletic membership, the Herald-Tribune reported.
“If you look at just the club business itself, it’s flat,” said Rex Jensen, chief executive of SMR. “Other clubs are losing members, we are gaining them.”
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