Peninsula Bay Projects Approved



A plan to build nearly 2,000 homes in a new development on Cortez Road cleared a hurdle last week when Manatee County Commissioners approved a general development plan for Peninsula Bay. The complete development of the site will take place over a decade, officials with Manatee Fruit Company say, transforming more than 358 acres from agriculture to housing. 

“We are thrilled by the decision of the county commissioners and look forward to the next steps in making our vision of Peninsula Bay a reality,” says Whiting Preston, Manatee Fruit Company owner. “We are tremendously excited about the potential positive impact this neighborhood could create for the entire region. We thank the county staff and Planning and Zoning Board for their recommendation of approval to the Board, as well as everyone who spoke today on our behalf.”

A development team plans to construct up to 1,950 homes with a boat ramp and kayak launch, a 67-acre lake to buffer existing mangroves and a waterfront shopping and dining area, including 90,000 square feet of nonresidential uses and a dry storage boat marina capable of holding 200 vessels.

The unanimous approval came after a lengthy public hearing that into the evening last Thursday. Preston’s family has owned the property since the 1940s, according to spokeswoman Linda Gross. Before ground actually breaks on the property, developers will also need to get approval from state agencies including the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

The hearing was marked by concerns of neighbors that the tiny Cortez community couldn’t handle the increase in traffic to be generated by the development. Developers argued that the project was surrounded by residential neighbors and was consistent with the area.

Over the course of the buildout, developers expect the project to generate 2,700 construction jobs, and that the resulting community will have 164 permanent jobs created on-site. Officials predict a $4.5 million annual economic impact to the county and an $800,000 net fiscal impact to local schools. To match nearby architecture in Cortez, developers say homes will be inspired by Old Florida. But Gross stresses that it will take some time to complete that project. Buildout is expected over five to ten years.

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