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Business Observer Friday, Oct. 25, 2019 3 weeks ago

Homebuilder moves forward on $4 million headquarters project

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Lee Wetherington Homes broke ground on a new headquarters on Fruitville Road.

One area homebuilder’s latest project isn’t a home for a client — it’s a new home for the company itself.

Lee Wetherington Homes has started work on a two-story headquarters building in Sarasota at 7498 Fruitville Road. It's a $4 million project. 

CEO Gregg Carlson tells Coffee Talk the site was chosen strategically. “We wanted to be centrally located,” he says. “We have activity in both Sarasota and Manatee counties. It puts us in a good spot where we can get north or south to our job sites.” It also gives customers who need to come in and make design selections easy access to the headquarters off the interstate.

The company’s offices have been in Lakewood Ranch for years, so the Fruitville Road site represents a departure from the master-planned community location. Carlson says Lee Wetherington Homes sees growth in Lakewood Ranch shifting south as well as more opportunities in south Sarasota County. “We’re anticipating more activity for our company further south in the Venice area in the next few years,” he says.

The company, with $34.10 million in revenue in 2018, closed on the Fruitville Road property in 2017 and spent 2018 going through a rezoning process. It worked with Sarasota-based Hoyt Architects on the design of the contemporary building. “We wanted something that would be modern, energy efficient and cool to look at,” says Carlson. “They came up with something we feel really good about.”

The building will have large overhangs on the front to help shade the windows from direct sunlight and make the building more energy efficient. It will also have energy-efficient lighting.

Lee Wetherington Homes will occupy the entire second floor of the 15,000-square-foot building and lease the first floor to two to four tenants. The headquarters will include administrative offices for Lee Wetherington Homes, its design center and its pool company, LeeSure Water Pools.

There also will be an area at the back of the building with three garage doors that open to a storage area where Lee Wetherington Homes can keep deliveries for projects. “We’ll have everything we need right on the property,” Carlson says.

The building is expected to be finished in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Carlson says the new headquarters will provide the Lee Wetherington Homes team with a space designed to meet its needs better than its current location and a sense of pride. He says, “It gives us our own home.”  

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