New Medical Complex Planned Near Bradenton, Fla.

May 13--LAKEWOOD RANCH -- A new office and medical park, scheduled to break ground in Lakewood Ranch in early 2007, will total 178,000 square feet and cost around $36 million.

The new medical office complex on Town Center Parkway, expected to be completed in early 2008, will help alleviate an office space shortage in the area. Schroeder-Manatee Ranch is the developer.

"This is an attractive place for people to be," said Lynn Mergen, chief executive officer and managing director of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. "As the population grows, so will the need for hospitals and other medical care."

The buildings on Town Center Parkway include three 36,000-square-foot-buildings and one 70,000-square-foot building. Together they will almost equal the size of the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, which employs a medical staff of more than 300 physicians.

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center will soon have a second 60,000-square-foot facility, projected to open in early 2007, to meet the increasing demands for space.

John Swart, president of Lakewood Ranch Commercial Realty, said commercial growth hasn't slowed. He doesn't expect to see a break either as he plans to add 400,000 square feet of office space around Lakewood Ranch by the end of 2006.

"There's lots of good activity in the area," he said. "State Road 64 and Bradenton are developing nicely. Lakewood Ranch has a continuing flow of business as well."

Swart said construction costs have risen this year from $160 to $200 per square foot.

"That's a concern," he said, "but rents are going up as well."

John Simpson, Herald reporter, can be reached at 708-7918, or at [].

<<Bradenton Herald, The (FL) (KRT) -- 05/15/06>>