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Lakewood Ranch named third best selling, master planned community in the U.S.

SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Lakewood Ranch is seeing a lot of new developments in housing, retail and restaurants. 

Among the new developments happening now are a new Publix grocery store and a $50 million senior housing community.

The headline in news stands on Main Street Monday was "Lakewood Ranch jumps to number three in the country."

The community that falls both in Bradenton and Sarasota was just recognized by real estate experts as the third best selling, master planned community nationwide. 

"Lakewood Ranch does a great job with trying to fit the needs of its population," said Amy Macdougall, Broker Associate with Ian Black Real Estate.

Macdougall works in commercial real estate and said the boom in Lakewood Ranch has only just begun.

"It seems to me that Lakewood Ranch is continuing to try to meet the needs of its population with a lot more families being there and people who have their parents and want to live nearby, they're providing that," she explained.

With at least three communities that are completely full, developers are now building new places to keep up with the ever-increasing demand. 

Next up is a lot on Lorraine and University Parkway, soon to be a $50 million assisted living facility for the elderly.

"I think its incredibly awesome from the real estate perspective obviously, brings more income in and it also adds to our economy, all the new people coming in they're going to be shopping,' said Angie Edwards, another woman who lives and sells real estate in the area.

Publix has already stepped in to meet that need, building a brand new store just steps away from the assisted living coming in 2019.

But from the perspective of someone who travels into Lakewood Ranch for work, more development also means more traffic.

"It's just made traffic and commuting times really intense, but I guess over all it's good for the community," said Jessica Desmoineaux, a local who lives in Ellington but works in Forest Ranch.

A call for infrastructure improvements that Manatee County Chamber of Commerce said it's working to answer too.

Another local real estate agent said though there are more pros than cons in this area, one aspect she struggles with are the Community Development District fees that come with living in Lakewood Ranch.

"The way that they're planning this development is great, but I think the one thing that is the downfall, if there is one, is that when you have a lot of buyers that are still within a half a million dollar price point, they will look elsewhere because they don't want to pay the CDD fees," Melinda Sanchez explained . "They ask when they're coming from other states, what is this and why is this?"

There are five Community Development Districts in Lakewood Ranch. 

The Chamber of Commerce also said it's one of their major goals to meet the variety of housing needs for a growing demographic that includes a large spectrum, from the millennial to the aging baby boomers.

Multi Media Journalist