Lakewood Ranch, FL
Lakewood Ranch is a master planned community located in southeastern Manatee County and northeastern Sarasota County, Florida, United States consisting of approximately 31,000 acres and It is part of the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The area originally was assembled in 1905 by John Schroeder as Schroeder-Manatee Ranch (SMR). The land was purchased by members of Milwaukee’s Uihlein family in 1922 for ranch operations such as timber and cattle.
In 1977, the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority announced intentions to build a new airport near the Sarasota-Manatee county line about 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 km) east of its current location, linking to future Interstate 75. The airport authority struck down the idea in 1985 and expanded the existing airport facility. The airport proposal and the construction of Interstate 75 resulted in SMR’s board of directors to pursue creating a planned community for the land.
In the 1980s, SMR designed a destination resort project called Cypress Banks. The project consisted of 1,800 acres (730 ha) and included 5,000 mixed residential units, three golf courses, and a 300-room hotel. The project and development of regional impact (DRI) were initially denied by Manatee County in 1987 but later approved in December 1989. The project never broke ground and SMR maintained vested rights to the land. The first neighborhood development, Summerfield, was built and completed in 1995.
Lakewood Ranch is maintained through the Lakewood Ranch Stewardship District and five community development districts (CDD) within the District. The District was established on June 14, 2005 by the Florida legislature. The District encompasses 23,055 acres (9,330 ha) within Manatee and Sarasota counties. The CDDs main powers are to plan, finance, construct, operate, and maintain community-wide infrastructure and services specifically for the benefit of its residents.
The Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority (IDA) was created to operate Town Hall and provide administrative, financial, and operations/maintenance services to the Lakewood Ranch CDDs. The IDA is composed of one representative from each CDD.