Construction on Waterside Place is expected to be finished at the end of 2020, with an opening planned for first quarter 2021.
Big things are happening at Waterside Place — now and in the year ahead.
The much-talked-about, mixed-use development in the master-planned community of Lakewood Ranch has been dubbed the entertainment hub of the new Waterside village.
Kirk Boylston, the president of Lakewood Ranch Commercial, says that after more than two years of planning and preparing documents, it’s in leasing mode. Construction of the commercial side began around October, and the first 375 apartments are under construction by Davis Development.
In total, the 36-acre Waterside Place will include 844 apartments, 22 townhomes as well as shops, restaurants, office space and an 8-acre park. It will also be home to a theater for The Players Centre for Performing Arts, which is currently in fundraising mode. “We’ve designed the project, so they can plug in whenever they’re ready,” he says.
There’s been steady success on commercial leasing, with about 10 tenants lined up so far, including Derek the Salon, Foundation Coffee Co., Paint Nail Bar, SoFresh, The Yoga Shack and Kore. “We focus a lot on tenants who are best-in-class in the region, not so much on national chains or the larger chain restaurants,” Boylston says. It did make an exception for one national tenant — chocolate and ice cream shop Kilwins.
In planning Waterside Place, Boylston says he and other team members traveled to developments in Miami, Celebration, parts of the Panhandle, Nashville and California to research what was and wasn’t working about them. “We really tried to figure out new ways to do things,” he says. “We learned a lot of lessons from other people.”
One focus was making sure there weren’t any dead spaces — that there were reasons for people to go to every spot in Waterside Place. They took a food hall concept and deconstructed it, adding pods to the end of restaurants to hold small tenants, such as coffee and donut shops. They also incorporated wider sidewalks — 25
feet from building to curb — to give restaurants space for outside tables. “We want it to be more European in a way,” Boylston says.
“We really tried to figure out new ways to do things. We learned a lot of lessons from other people.” — Kirk Boylston, president, Lakewood Ranch Commercial
Office space totals about 40,000 square feet, with spaces ranging from 1,500 to about 9,000 square feet. “We spent a lot of time on the details of this project,” Boylston says, including such elements as landscaping, signage, seating areas and open spaces.
Construction is expected to be finished at the end of 2020, with an opening planned for first quarter 2021. Lakewood Ranch will use Waterside Place as a second hub of activities and events, in combination with Main Street at Lakewood Ranch. Boylston says, “We’ll own this long-term just like we own Main Street, so we can program it the way we feel can benefit the community best.”
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