The row of hotels at Lakewood Ranch may expand in the near future.
Sarasota’s Floridays Development Company is seeking approval from the Manatee County government to build a five-story, 118-room hotel and 7,000-square-foot restaurant in Lakewood Ranch, north of University Parkway and east of the ‘Interstate 75.
The new hotel would be built next to Beneficial Way, just north of the current Hyatt Place Hotel, and the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Sarasota Lakewood Ranch.
The oldest hotel in the area, the Holiday Inn located south of University Parkway at 6231 Lake Osprey Drive, has renamed the Even Hotel the most upscale with $ 6 million in renovations.
Even the hotel and the Fairfield Inn and Suites, 6105 Exchange Way, are both owned by the George Steinbrenner family and their partners. The Fairfield Inn recently received $ 2.2 million in renovations.
The developers of the proposed new Lakewood Ranch hotel are in negotiations with potential operators but declined to say what brand the restaurant and hotel might carry.
“We haven’t chosen a franchise yet,” said Steve Mullen of the Floridays, who added that the new additions would be a “real boon” for the region.
If approvals go according to plan, construction could begin in the third quarter of this year and open about 12 months later, Mullen said.
No immediate issues emerged with the project, said Jim Rigo, Manatee County Government case manager.
The proposed hotel property is approximately 60 feet north of the Hyatt property line.
Floridays is the same company that built the Hyatt Place Hotel-Lakewood Ranch and the Grande Riviera, an ultra-luxurious 13-unit residence in downtown Sarasota. Floridays was also selected to build the Margaritaville Hotel on Manatee Avenue in West Bradenton.
The growing inventory of hotel rooms and occupancy rates was a topic of discussion at the Manatee County Tourism Development Board meetings. Walter Klages, founder of Research Data Services, regularly informs the panel about hotel occupancy rates, which have declined while room rates have remained high.
Sports tourism has become an increasingly important part of the Manatee County tourism industry, complementing the strong tourism base of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key.
Events at Premier Sports Campus, Nathan Benderson Park and IMG Academy bring new visitors to the area. In 2018, these visitors helped balance the downturn in tourism along the Manatee County coast caused by the red tide.
Before the wave of new hotels being built, there was often an insufficient number of rooms nearby to handle the influx of visitors for major sporting events.
This story was originally published March 15, 2019 11:07 am.