Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Creekside townhomes set for East Manatee

EAST MANATEE - The sizzling Manatee County real estate market is rife with new construction, and another new builder is getting into the act.

California-based KB Home has built homes and townhomes in Florida, and a new 107-acre development in East Manatee is taking the builder where it has never been before.

KB Home is laying the groundwork for Willowbrook Townhomes off Town Center Parkway not far from Colonial Village, the apartments-turned-condo that garnered attention last week as people camped out for a chance to purchase them.

The popularity and pricing of the condo conversion will most likely have bearing on the pricing of the nearby townhomes, said Dale Friedley of the Manatee County Property Appraiser's Office.

The neighborhood is near Lakewood Ranch, but ultimately not part of the master planned community. The proximity to the desired address may also drive up the cost of the townhomes.

"The appreciations are so out of touch with reality," Friedley said.

Pricing for Willowbrook is not being released by KB Home until the project is further along.

The community will feature approximately 270 townhomes, said George Orsua, a company representative.

"It will be strictly townhomes," Orsua added.

The decision to keep the development townhomes may be more of a practical issue than one of style. Cooper Creek runs along the property, and Friedley said the project is inevitably going to be in the flood plain.

According to the Manatee County Property Appraisers' records, KB Home purchased the land in late January for almost $3 million above the appraised value.

The Los Angeles-based company builds in 14 states. Developments similar to the proposed Willowbrook project can be found in Tampa and surrounding areas.

Though the land is just beginning to be turned, a sign touts Willowbrook's townhomes will begin at 1,154 square feet.

Orsua expects the sales office to open in September, with a model opening scheduled for late November or early December.

Melissa Followell, Herald reporter, can be reached at 708-7920 or


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