LAKEWOOD RANCH — A Tampa-based developer has purchased 85 acres in Lakewood Ranch in east Manatee County for $3.5 million to construct as much as 700,000 square feet of industrial space.
At least a portion of Harrod Properties Inc.'s planned Lakewood Ranch Corporate Center project will be built on a speculative basis without pre-commitments from tenants, a reflection of the ongoing strength of the warehouse and distribution market along the Gulf Coast.
The bulk industrial space — some of which will feature 30-foot clear ceiling heights for greater distribution flexibility and efficiency — will be the first of its kind in the master-planned Lakewood Ranch, however, a community that has drawn corporate office headquarters such as insurer FCCI and Miles Media, among others.
In all, Harrod is planning eight buildings valued at roughly $50 million on its land.
“They have a lot of flexibility with their product type, so for instance they could put buildings together to accommodate larger deals,” says Steve Horn, a partner with Sarasota commercial brokerage Ian Black Real Estate, who represented Harrod in negotiations with Lakewood Ranch owner Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc.
“But this really speaks to the overall strength of the market,” Horn adds. “It's a great deal for Lakewood Ranch, and will add to having an even more well-rounded economy there where people truly can work, live and play.”
Harrod is expected to break ground on the first of its buildings early next year.
Founded in 1990, Harrod has developed more than 15 million square feet in Florida, Texas, Tennessee and New Mexico, according to its website.
Along the Gulf Coast, the firm developed the Bayshore Executive Center and Cypress Bay Corporate Center, in Tampa; the Star Center in Largo; and redeveloped a vacant former General Electric Co. plant in the Ellenton section of Manatee County for Feld Entertainment Co.'s world headquarters, the company's website says.