While the Long Bar Pointe saga boiled over the summer of 2013, its neighbors were preparing another, maybe even competing, community.
I took the lessons learned from covering Long Bar Pointe and applied them to covering Lake Flores. Honestly, the developer, Whiting Preston, also took lessons from Long Bar Pointe. For the most part, he looked more favorable to residents because his family was part of the county for generations, even if some of his prior developments met some controversies as the family turned farmland into homeland.
He had a PR flak at the ready, an updated website looking for public input before any hearings took place and he was accessible from the start. Also, while in the neighborhood of Long Bar Pointe, it wasn’t waterfront. Well, not Sarasota Bay waterfront. Lake Flores (at one time called Crossroads), would mean that the developer would build a man-made lake to create some waterfront property.
The business desk decided to check out the communities in person Preston said inspired him to create this community. We find out that there’s more than just inspiration. There are business interests involved who is planning this community and one of the Orlando communities.
The main stories contained in this land use coverage are below:
March 2, 2014
Preston’s Crossroads: Manatee Fruit Farm on path to new West Bradenton development
WEST BRADENTON — In fields once famous for thousands of Gladiolus cultivated over the years, Whiting Preston is sowing seeds for an urban village — housing, retail and hotels called Crossroads — on 1,322 acres of his family’s land.
Until now, the Preston family kept its farming operation in an area surrounded by growth, unlike many other neighboring farmers who sold their land and moved their operation to East Manatee.
Today, roads and sidewalks intersect through the fields still managed by the 122-year-old family farming company.
Preston has decided to embrace the changing landscape but wants to hear from Manatee County residents about how his fields should be transformed.
“We’re sort of at a point right now where we need to put something down on the property that we can look back on and say it’s a great asset to the community,” Preston said. “Whether or not we continue to farm, we may have to move, but that will be it. My kids are too young to know what they’re going to do.”